DESI POWER IN THE US CABINET
Femina|April 2021
MEET THE INDIAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IN US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S CABINET.
SARAH KHALKO

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021 in a historic inauguration. The new President’s cabinet is also in the spotlight—it is being hailed as one of the most diverse ever, featuring a large number of people of colour. Notably, it is also the first time so many Indian-Americans have been roped into important roles. Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States who took oath along with Biden, is the most prominent face, yet she is only the front-runner in a remarkable line-up of 13 Indian-American women who round up the cabinet, with many being in key White House positions.

Here is a low-down of the prolific Indian-American women chosen to be a part of the Biden administration:

KAMALA HARRIS

Position: VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Why she’s so good for the post: Harris has held important political positions over the course of her distinguished career— as District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator. A graduate of Howard University and Hastings College of Law, University of California, Harris has spent several years in the civil rights justice arena.

Why we’re going to be watching: Of Indian heritage, Harris has been greatly inspired by her Indian mother’s pioneering work and dedication. She is the first woman, first Black American, and first South Asian American to be the Vice President of the United States. As someone who has held key positions in the past, Harris is well-versed with the responsibility that comes with her new role at the White House. We are excited to see how she uses her expertise to navigate a new era of American politics.

NEERA TANDEN

Position: DIRECTOR OF WHITE HOUSE MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

Why she’s good for the post: A Yale law alumnus, Tanden is a policymaking veteran, and a mover and shaker in Washington politics. She previously served as the healthcare advisor in the Obama administration, where she played a big role in the drafting of ‘Obamacare’. Tanden has also worked on numerous presidential campaigns, was Hillary Clinton’s former aide, and policy director for Clinton’s first presidential campaign. Tanden’s most recent stint was as the President of the Center for American Progress.

Why we’re going to be watching: Tanden is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and will be the first woman of colour and first South Asian to head the Office of Management and Budget; she’ll be managing the Biden administration’s budget. This role is not her first taste of power; she’s a Washington politics veteran and will bring her many years of experience to her new position. We believe Tanden’s personal experiences— she was raised by a single mother and has relied on food stamps and rental housing assistance—will shape her policies for supporting working families.

VANITA GUPTA

Position: ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE US

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