Biden on Tuesday named longtime campaign operative Emmy Ruiz to lead the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, a perch that has been used by past presidents to beef up political strategy in the White House.
Ruiz dazzled Democratic circles in 2016 when she led Hillary Clinton’s campaign efforts in the Nevada caucuses, building a multiracial coalition to beat back a stronger-than-expected challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and delivering Clinton a resounding victory that put her on the path to the nomination. She is on the boards of a slew of top Democratic groups, including Annie’s List, which encourages liberal women to run for office, and UltraViolet, a women’s rights group.
She will be joined by Erin Wilson, who will be the deputy director of political strategy and outreach and who is another Clinton campaign alum and a staff member who once worked for Biden ally Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.).
The two were among a group of seven White House aides named Tuesday.
“Our nation is facing urgent challenges, and we are building a team that will be ready to tackle them on day one,” Biden said in a statement announcing the new aides. “In addition to working with organizations and communities, these accomplished public servants sit at the forefront of collaboration across the administration.”
The group builds on Biden’s pledge to hire diverse staff members at the highest levels of government, naming a batch of largely non-White aides.
Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff, said: “I am proud that we are building a barrier-breaking White House team that will be dedicated to working across the administration and White House to improve the lives of Americans.”
Biden is also building out his public engagement office, naming Adrian Saenz deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement. Biden previously named Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) to be the director of that office.
Evan Ryan will become Biden’s Cabinet secretary. She helped launch the political news start-up Axios and is a Democratic veteran, serving in John F. Kerry’s State Department and the Obama White House. She is married to Antony Blinken, Biden’s pick to be secretary of state — although she will report through the National Security Council and have no direct interaction with the State Department, which is consistent with how the position has previously worked, a Biden transition official said.
Cristóbal J. Alex, who was the founding president of the Latino Victory Fund, will be the deputy Cabinet secretary. He did a stint on Clinton’s campaign and worked for the Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation.
Others named include David Recordon, who will be the director of technology, and Austin Lin, who will be deputy director of technology.
“To meet the unprecedented challenges facing the American people, we must build an administration that reflects the very best of our country,” Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris said in a statement. “These accomplished public servants have the knowledge and expertise to hit the ground running on day one.”