Transition Names 100 Accomplished, Diverse White House Staff Members by End of 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced additional members of the White House staff. Today’s announcement includes individuals from the White House Presidential Personnel Office, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Office of the Staff Secretary, and Oval Office Operations.
With today’s appointments, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have surpassed their goal of naming 100 members of the incoming White House staff by the end of 2020. This total exceeds the more than 50 appointments made by the Obama-Biden Transition in 2008-2009. These accomplished individuals join a historic and barrier-breaking White House and administration that looks like America and is ready to deliver results for working families on day one.
The Biden-Harris administration will prioritize diversity of ideology and background and foster talent to address our nation’s most complex challenges. The White House staff represents a small percentage of the total number of Biden-Harris appointees that will serve across the federal government. The first 100+ White House appointees, including those announced today, represent America in the following ways:
- 61 percent are women
- 54 percent are people of color
- AAPI appointees represent more than twice their share of the national population
- LGBTQ+ appointees account for 11 percent of all White House staff
- Almost 20 percent of appointees are first-generation Americans
- Almost 40 percent of White House senior staff have children at home
Weeks away from Inauguration, the Biden-Harris White House continues to grow and take shape. The appointees announced today join dozens of others that will focus on implementing policies, working with Congress, and communicating with the American people about how the administration is building our nation back better than before.
“From the beginning, Vice President-elect Harris and I have sought to build an administration that looks like America. Building a diverse team will lead to better outcomes and more effective solutions to address the urgent crises facing our nation. The appointees named today will draw from their expertise and life experiences to help us build the country back better. Moving forward together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish,” said President-elect Joe Biden.
“To meet the unprecedented challenges facing the American people, we must build an administration that reflects the very best of our country. These remarkable public servants have the knowledge and expertise to hit the ground running on day one. And I look forward to working with them to get this virus under control, safely and responsibly reopen our economy and our schools, and build back our country in a way that lifts up all Americans,” said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“The president-elect and vice president-elect have been committed to building a White House team that is filled with crisis-tested experts who will hit the ground running on day one. I am thrilled that we have accomplished our goal of naming 100 staff members by the end of 2020 — and I could not be more proud of the talented and diverse team we will put to work for the American people,” said incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Biographies of the appointees are listed below in alphabetical order:
Office of Legislative Affairs
Zephranie Buetow, Special Assistant to the President and Senate Legislative Affairs Liaison
Zephranie Buetow currently serves as Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. Prior to joining Peters staff in 2015, Buetow served as Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. She also served in the Illinois Army National Guard. Originally from Illinois, Buetow is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Illinois State University and Loyola University Chicago.
Kaitlyn Hobbs Demers, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Legislative Affairs
Kaitlyn Demers serves as a senior associate counsel on the Biden-Harris Transition. She previously served as Associate Counsel for then-Vice President Biden in the Obama-Biden administration. Prior to joining the transition, Kaitlyn was an associate at Covington and Burling where she focused on Congressional investigations. She also worked on several pro bono matters including immigration cases, gerrymandering litigation, and Constitutional rights cases. She graduated from George Washington University Law School in 2016. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked as a fifth grade teacher in Atlanta. Originally from upstate New York, Kaitlyn received a degree in theater and education from Lycoming College. She is a mom of two toddlers.
Christopher Garcia, Senior Legislative Affairs Advisor
Christopher Garcia is Special Assistant for the Nominations Team on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to his role on the transition, Garcia worked exclusively in the U.S. Congress inside both chambers. He served as the Director of Operations for Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-1) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Garcia also served as a Staff Assistant & Intern Coordinator for Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) in the U.S. Senate. Additionally, he served as a Legislative Intern for Senator Tom Carper (DE) in the U.S. Senate. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Garcia earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and his Juris Doctor from Mitchell | Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Ashley Jones, Special Assistant to the President and House Legislative Affairs Liaison
Ashley Jones is Senior Advisor to Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, where she oversees the Member engagement program for the freshman class. Prior to joining the Assistant Speaker’s office, she was Chief of Staff to Representative Brad Schneider. Previously, Jones served as Assistant United States Trade Representative for Private Sector Engagement, where she worked with stakeholders to advance US trade policy. Prior to joining the executive branch, Jones served in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Energy and Commerce Committee as Director of Communications, Outreach, and Member Services for then-Ranking Member Frank Pallone, and also served for a decade as Chief of Staff to Representative John Barrow. Originally from Georgia, Jones is a graduate of the University of Georgia and lives in Washington, DC with her husband.
Alicia Molt-West, Special Assistant to the President and House Legislative Affairs Liaison
Alicia Molt-West serves in the Office of Legislative Affairs for the Biden-Harris Transition. She will be joining the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs with more than ten years of experience in the House of Representatives and most recently served as Chief of Staff to Representative Lori Trahan of Massachusetts. Prior to working for Congresswoman Trahan, Molt-West spent five years working for Representative Mark Pocan as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director. In this role, she served as the primary legislative contact for the Congressman’s work on the House Appropriations Committee and the Congressional Progressive Caucus during his Chairmanship. Molt-West also worked in legislative roles for Representatives Jim McGovern and Gwendolynne S. Moore. Originally from Northbridge, Massachusetts, Molt-West is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Johns Hopkins University. She and her husband, Stephen, live in Washington, DC with their twin daughters.
Angela Ramirez, Special Assistant to the President and House Legislative Affairs Liaison
Angela Ramirez serves as senior staff on the Biden-Harris Transition since its initiation earlier this year. Prior to transition, Ramirez was Chief of Staff to Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján. She oversaw his office from his freshman term to becoming the highest ranking Latino in House history. Ramirez has been the Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has worked on domestic issues in federal, state, and local government. She graduated from Princeton University, where she was the first woman to co-chair the 115 year-old humor magazine. Currently living in DC with her husband, she is the daughter of farm workers and a native of California.
Dana Shubat, Senior Legislative Affairs Advisor
Dana Shubat serves as the Office of Legislative Affairs Strategic Coordination Lead on the Biden-Harris Transition and is a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Shubat also serves as the Senate Vice President of the Congressional Middle Eastern and North African Staff Association. As the daughter of Jordanian immigrants, Shubat is a first-generation American. Born in California and raised in Colorado, Shubat is a graduate of the University of Colorado.
Lee Slater, Special Assistant to the President and House Legislative Affairs Liaison
Lee Slater currently serves as Director of Outreach and Member Services to Chairman Richard E. Neal and the Committee on Ways & Means. Slater has held a number of additional roles within the U.S. House of Representatives, including as Chief of Staff to Congressman John B. Larson , a Senior Advisor to the House Democratic Caucus, and a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Jason Altmire. He came to Capitol Hill following service in the U.S. Army Reserve, which included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. A western Pennsylvania native, Slater attended the University of Pittsburgh. He now resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and golden retriever.
Chris Slevin, Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
Chris Slevin serves on the Biden-Harris Transition in the Office of Legislative Affairs. Prior to his role on the transition, he served as vice president of the Economic Innovation Group, a research and advocacy organization focused on geographic inequality. Slevin served in the U.S. Senate for more than a decade, most recently as legislative director for Senator Cory Booker and earlier as an economic policy advisor to Senator Sherrod Brown. Previously, he was a deputy director at Public Citizen, the national consumer advocacy organization. Born in New Jersey, Slevin is a graduate of Villanova University. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, daughter and son.
Office of the Vice President
Cynthia Bernstein, Director of Management and Administration for the Office of the Vice President
Cynthia Bernstein serves as the Team Lead for the White House Office of Management and Administration Agency Review Team. Before joining the Biden-Harris Transition, she led large-scale project management and strategic operations in Deloitte Consulting’s Government and Public Sector practice. In the Obama-Biden administration, Cynthia managed operations, finances, and personnel as Director of Administration for the Office of Vice President Biden; she also coordinated strategic planning and budgetary matters in the White House Office of Management and Administration. Cynthia served as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Yeshiva University, where she received her bachelor of arts degree, and is a graduate of the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. A native New Yorker, she lives with her husband in Washington, DC.
Josh Hsu, Counsel to the Vice President
Josh Hsu serves as the Director of Judicial Nominations on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the Transition, Hsu served as National Policy Director for then-Senator Kamala D. Harris’s presidential campaign. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff and General Counsel in her Senate office. Before joining then-Senator Harris’s senate office, Hsu served as Chief Counsel for Nominations for former Ranking Member Patrick J. Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has also practiced at the law firms of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and at O’Melveny & Myers LLP. In addition, he was an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, National Legal Department. Hsu served as a law clerk to the Honorable Denny Chin, then-U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to parents of Taiwanese-descent and raised in New Jersey, Hsu is a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center.
Presidential Personnel Office
Karen Andre, Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
Karen Andre served as a Senior Advisor to the Biden-Harris Campaign in Florida and for National Faith Outreach. Prior to her role on the campaign, she served as Political Director of Organizing Together 2020 in Florida. She previously served as Senior Advisor to Andrew Gillum in his primary win as Democratic nominee for governor of Florida in 2018. From 2014 to 2017, Andre served as a Presidential appointee in the Obama-Biden administration as the White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She is an attorney and first generation Haitian-American born in New York and raised in Florida.
Jamie Citron, Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
Jamie Citron serves as the Interviews Lead on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the transition, Citron served as Chief of Staff at Adler University. Previously, Jamie served as the Director of Development Strategy at the Barack Obama Foundation. During the Obama-Biden administration, Citron served as the Deputy Director of the White House Visitors Office, and in the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Citron was born and raised in Illinois and is a graduate of Hampshire College and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
Corina Cortez, Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
Corina Cortez serves as the Domestic Lead for Presidential Appointments on the Biden-Harris Transition. Previously, Cortez served as the Senior Vice President for Strategic Opportunities and Chief of Staff at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City. Her commitment to public service dates back to the Clinton administration, where she served as the Deputy Chief of Staff and later the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Over more than two decades, Cortez has championed the causes of public education, health care, worker rights, and the environment using ballot, public education, and legislative campaigns to advance positive change. During this time, she held senior leadership roles at the National Education Association, the Children’s Defense Fund, and national strategic consulting firms. A native of Texas, Cortez graduated summa cum laude from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio and received her Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Matt Dannenberg, Senior Associate Director
Matt Dannenberg served as Wisconsin Coalitions Director for the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to the campaign, Dannenberg served as Census Director at the nonprofit, Wisconsin Voices, where he coordinated civic engagement campaigns around the 2020 Census and voter registration. Dannenberg has also served as the Legislative and Communications Director at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and as a personnel volunteer for Governor Evers transition team. Dannenberg started his career at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters as an organizer, Field Director, and Political Director. Dannenberg is a proud member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Milwaukee, WI with his spouse Emma and puppy Butters.
Dani Durante, Director for Leadership & Training
Dani Durante serves on the Appointments Team for the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the transition, Durante served as a Senior Program Manager on the diversity and inclusion team at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Previously, she served as the People Programs and Operations Manager for the Obama Foundation, as well as the Senior Director of National Operations at OneGoal, an organization focused on ensuring all students have an equitable opportunity to achieve their postsecondary aspirations. Having spent the majority of her career within education-focused nonprofits, Durante has also held roles at Teach for America and Save the Children. Originally from Albuquerque, she is a graduate of the University of New Mexico.
Stacy Eichner, Senior Associate Director
Stacy Eichner serves on the Intergovernmental Affairs team for the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the transition, Eichner was the Florida Deputy State Director for the Biden-Harris Campaign and the National Political Chief of Staff for the Biden for President primary campaign. Prior to her roles on the Biden campaign, Eichner served as Deputy Political Director for United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Florida Surrogates Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Eichner has also held roles at the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Democratic National Committee as a top aide to the Chair. Born in Florida, Eichner is a graduate of the University of Florida.
Danielle Okai, Senior Associate Director
Danielle Okai was Chief of Staff to the Political Department on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to her role on the campaign, Okai served in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs. Okai served as Political Operations Manager and Deputy Political Director on Governor Tom Wolf’s 2018 reelection campaign. Okai also taught K-4 Spanish in Camden, NJ and was a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Cartagena, Colombia. Originally from Connecticut, Okai is a graduate of Tufts University.
Katie Petrelius, Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
Katie Petrelius serves as the National Finance Director for the Biden Inaugural Committee and served as the National Finance Director for the entirety of the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to her role on the campaign, she served as the Director of Development for the Biden Foundation. Petrelius served as the Northeast regional finance director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2014 and 2016 campaign cycles. She also served as national finance director for Congressman Joe Kennedy III. Originally from Haddonfield, New Jersey, Petrelius is a graduate of Drew University.
Jacob Sztraicher, Senior Associate Director
Jacob Sztraicher serves as a Strategy and Operations Deputy on the Biden-Harris Transition Appointments team. Prior to joining the Transition, Sztraicher worked with public opinion pollsters at the Democratic data firm, TargetSmart, and as a researcher at Prime Policy Group before that. During the last year of the Obama-Biden administration, Sztraicher served as the Associate Director for Technology and Operations in the Presidential Personnel Office. Previously, Sztraicher worked as a contractor at the United States Postal Service and the Defense Health Agency. Originally from California, Sztraicher earned his bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, He currently lives in Richmond, VA with his spouse.
Rachel Wallace, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Presidential Personnel
Rachel Wallace served as the advisor for women’s engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign. In that role, she led the campaign’s efforts to engage and mobilize women voters, building one of the largest coalitions that turned out in record numbers. Prior to joining the campaign, she was the speechwriter and communications advisor for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. During the Obama administration, Wallace directed public affairs for U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Cathy Russell at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, she worked in nonprofit strategic communication. A Pennsylvania native, Wallace is a graduate of The George Washington University.
Allison Wong, Senior Associate Director
Allison Wong serves as an Operations Associate for the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the Transition, Wong was the Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives at the ONE Campaign, an advocacy organization campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases. In this role, she managed the implementation of ONE’s strategic plan and spearheaded the operational response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wong also worked at the United Nations Foundation where she supported the COO in a variety of roles, and began her career as an intern at the White House Visitors Office. Originally from Minnesota, Wong graduated from Grinnell College.
Thomas Zimmerman, Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel
Thomas Zimmerman serves as Deputy Lead for National Security Personnel on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to joining the transition, Zimmerman worked at the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Center on International Cooperation. He started his career working in Afghanistan on education programs before joining President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Zimmerman served in the Obama-Biden administration as Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor at the White House and Country Director for Pakistan at the Department of Defense. Originally from Texas, Zimmerman is a graduate of Williams College and the Fletcher School. He lives in Alexandria, VA, with his partner.
Office of the Staff Secretary
Jessica Hertz, Staff Secretary
Jessica Hertz currently serves as the General Counsel for the Biden-Harris Transition. During the Obama-Biden administration, Hertz served as Principal Deputy Counsel in the Office of the Vice President, Special Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Justice, and Counselor to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget. Hertz worked as a Director and Associate General Counsel for Facebook’s regulatory team and was a Partner at the law firm Jenner & Block. Originally from New York, Hertz is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Chicago Law School.
Michael Hochman, Deputy Staff Secretary
Michael Hochman is a member of the law firm Monzack Mersky Browder and Hochman, P.A. in Wilmington, Delaware. He is a litigator with extensive experience in both state and federal courts. Hochman has also served as a trial lawyer with the State of Delaware’s Office of the Public Defender. After law school, he clerked for the Delaware Court of Chancery. Hochman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Boston College Law School. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and their three children.
Oval Office Operations
Stephen Goepfert, Personal Aide to the President of the United States
Stephen Goepfert has served as the Personal Aide to President-elect Joe Biden throughout the Biden-Harris Campaign and the transition. Goepfert began his career in politics in 2008 as a Field Organizer for the Obama-Biden Campaign in New Hampshire. He worked in the Obama-Biden administration for nearly seven years, serving as the Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Correspondence and then as Special Assistant and Senior Advisor to Vice President Biden’s Chief of Staff, Steve Ricchetti. Following the administration, Goepfert worked in New York State government and at The Rockefeller Foundation. A native of New York, Goepfert is a graduate of The George Washington University.
Ashley Williams, Deputy Director of Oval Office Operations
Ashley Williams serves as Trip Director to the president-elect on the Biden-Harris Transition and also served as Trip Director to the president-elect on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Williams is the first Black woman to hold this role for a successful presidential candidate. Prior to the campaign, Williams served as Special Advisor and Director of Special Projects to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Having served the Biden family in various capacities for a decade, Williams also served as Senior Assistant to Dr. Jill Biden in the Obama-Biden administration. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Williams is a graduate of Georgetown University, George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.