Indian Americans in Biden administration
In addition to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, at least eight other Indian Americans are set to serve in the Biden White House in various roles.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
President-elect Joe Biden nominated Neera Tanden to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget on November 30, 2020. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would make history becoming both the first woman of color and the first South Asian American to lead the OMB.
Born in 1970 in Bedford, Massachusetts, obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1992, and a law degree from Yale Law School in 1996.
She worked for the campaign of President Bill Clinton, who was seeking reelection that year. The following year, she landed a job at the White House press office. Later, Tanden joined the White House domestic policy office as an associate director.
In 2000, she served as a policy director and deputy campaign manager for former First Lady Hillary Clinton’s victorious senatorial bid from New York. She went on to work for the newly elected senator as a legislative director from 2003 to 2005. During Clinton’s first presidential run in 2008, Tanden served as a policy director, and in the general election campaign, she worked for Barack Obama as domestic policy director.
In the first Obama administration, Tanden was one of the point persons on the Affordable Care Act, as a senior advisor to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
In 2010, she joined the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, as the chief operating officer. In November 2011, she succeeded John Podesta as the organization’s President and CEO.
Surgeon General of the United States
Vivek Murthy was nominated as the next US Surgeon General, a role he previously held during the Obama administration, by President-elect Joe Biden on December 7, 2020. Currently serving as a member of Biden’s team, as co-chair of the COVID task force, Murthy will reprise the role he held from 2014-2017, albeit with more responsibility.
If confirmed, this time around Murthy will be a part of a team responsible for responding to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 280,000 Americans and hospitalized millions more.
Murthy could face difficulty in receiving a confirmation from the senate however, given the opposition he faced during his Senate confirmation process in 2014.
Born in England to Indian immigrants, Murthy was raised in Miami after his parents moved to the US to establish their medical practice. After earning his BA in biochemical sciences and graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1997, Murthy received his MD from Yale School of Medicine and his MBA from Yale School of Management.
As an 18-year old freshman at Harvard, Murthy co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, a non-profit organization aimed to raise HIV/AIDs education in the US and India, with his sister Rashmi.
Deputy Director of the National Economic Council
Bharat Ramamurti was nominated as the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) by President-elect Joe Biden on Dec. 21, 2020.
He is currently the Managing Director (MD) of the Corporate Power program at the Roosevelt Institute. Ramamurti previously worked as the top economic advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren during her 2020 presidential campaign.
“I’m honored to be joining the Biden-Harris administration as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. We have much to do to get through this crisis and create a stronger and fairer economy — and I’m excited to get to work alongside this great team,” he tweeted.
He will also be working with Biden-picks Joelle Gamble and David Kamin on the National Economic Council.
After earning his bachelor’s from Harvard College, Ramamurti received his JD from Yale Law School. He then worked as an intern for the Boston Red Sox’s legal department.
Ramamurti currently lives in Boston with his wife and child.
Assistant Press Secretary
Before being named as Assistant Press Secretary, Vedant Patel served as a senior spokesperson of the Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee. During the 2020 general election campaign, he was the Regional Communications Director for the Democratic nominee. During primary campaign, he served as the Nevada and Western Primary-States Communications Director for Biden.
Patel has also worked as Communications Director to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Western Regional Press Secretary at the Democratic National Committee, and Communications Director to former Rep. Mike Honda.
Born in Gujarat, India and raised in California, Patel is a graduate of the University of California-Riverside and the University of Florida.
Director of speechwriting
Before being named as director of Speechwriting, Vinay Reddy served as a Senior Advisor and Speechwriter for the Biden-Harris campaign. During President Obama’s second term, Reddy served as chief speechwriter to Vice President Biden.
Reddy played several roles during the Obama administration, having served as both senior speechwriter at the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, and as deputy speechwriter for the Obama reelection campaign.
Reddy, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, also worked as a speechwriter for the Buckeye State Sen. Sherrod Brown.
After leaving the White House, he worked as Vice President of Strategic Communications for the NBA.
Reddy, second of three sons of Indian American parents, studied in Ohio’s public schools from kindergarten through law school. He is an alumnus of Miami University and the Ohio State University College of Law. He currently lives in New York with his wife and their two daughters.
Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel
Gautam Raghavan is a trailblazing Indian American who has served in multiple positions at the White House and on Capitol Hill in the past decade. Prior to being named as the Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, he worked as the Deputy Head of Presidential Appointments on the Biden’s transition team. Raghavan is one of a number of Obama officials tapped by Biden who has worked with the president-elect. Before joining the Biden transition last year, Raghavan served as Chief of Staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, for roughly two years.
Before that, he was the founding executive director of Indian American Impact Fund, a political advocacy group that encourages and support members of the community that run for elected offices across the country.
Like many Biden officials, Raghavan also has experience working with the president-elect, having served as an Advisor to the Biden Foundation.
Raghavan also worked as the Policy Director of the Gill Foundation, based in Denver, Colorado, one of the oldest and largest private foundations dedicated to the cause of LGBTQ equality.
From 2011 to 2014, Raghavan served in the Obama White House as the president’s liaison to the LGBTQ and the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. He was the first openly gay Indian American official in the Obama administration.
He also served in the White House Liaison Office for the US Department of Defense and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group.
Policy director Jill Biden
Mala Adiga has been named the policy director to the would-be First Lady Jill Biden in November 2020. Previously, she served as a senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden, and as one on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Adiga has also served as the Director for Higher Education and Military Families at the Biden Foundation.
During the Obama administration, Adiga served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She also served as both Senior Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large and as Director for Human Rights on the National Security Staff.
Prior to that, she was Counsel to the Associate Attorney General in the Department of Justice. Before entering government service, Adiga worked on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.
Adiga was a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago and clerked for US District Court Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana before joining the campaign.
Adiga, whose parents are from Udupi in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, grew up in Illinois. She is a graduate of Grinnell College, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the University of Chicago Law School.
Adiga’s father Dr. Ramesh Adiga, who is the second among three siblings, came to the United States at the age of 25 to hone his skills as a vascular surgeon. Mala’s mother Jaya Adiga had studied medicine in Vellore.
Partnerships Manager, White House Office of Digital Strategy
Aisha Shah, who was born in Kashmir and raised in Louisiana, has been named as a Partnerships Manager in the 12-member White House Office of Digital Strategy.
Shah, an Advancement Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, previously served as a Digital Partnerships Manager for the Biden campaign.
Her previous stints include working as an Assistant Manager on the Corporate Fund of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and serving as a Strategic Communications Specialist at Buoy, an integrated marketing firm that specializes in social impact communications.
She is a graduate of Davidson College.