Which Georgians might be in line for roles in Joe Biden’s administration?

President-elect Joe Biden listens during a meeting with his COVID-19 advisory council, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President-elect Joe Biden listens during a meeting with his COVID-19 advisory council, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Now that all the major news organizations have declared Joe Biden the president-elect, focus is shifting to his transition and speculation about whom he will pick for his inner circle.

President Donald Trump selected several Georgians for his team, including U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and former Health Secretary Tom Price. Callista Gingrich, wife of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, serves as the ambassador to the Vatican.

The question now is: Which Georgia Democrats could be on Biden’s radar for his administration? The names you are most likely to hear are Stacey Abrams, whose commitment to voter access and engagement helped Biden win the state this year, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, an early surrogate of the president-elect, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who stood up to Trump on immigration.

So far, we already know at least one Peach State native will serve in the White House. Kate Bedingfield was recently named Biden’s communications director.

There are others who may be picked but who aren’t currently household names. To create this list, we did our own reporting and consulted other sources like Axios, Politico and USA Today.

Here is an overview of some of the people mentioned in early speculation, including what roles they could fill on the Biden team and their qualifications. We will update as we hear more.

Who already got a job?

Kate Bedingfield

Role: White House communications director

Bedingfield grew up in Sandy Springs and attended Riverwood High School. She served as the Biden campaign’s deputy campaign manager and director of communications. She is also a veteran of the Obama administration, where she served in various roles including communications chief to then-Vice President Biden.

ExploreJoe Biden chooses all-female senior White House press team

Who may be in the running for a job?

Stacey Abrams

Possible role: attorney general

The former candidate for governor is credited with creating a blueprint that helped turn Georgia into a battleground state. Although many mention her as a potential pick for attorney general — she has a law degree and was appointed deputy city attorney in Atlanta before becoming a legislator — we wonder whether she would also accept a role more tailored to her work on voting rights.

Explore‘Stacey led the parade’: Many praise Abrams for Dems’ resurgence in Georgia

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Possible role: housing secretary, transportation secretary

The Atlanta mayor was one of Biden’s earliest and highest-profile surrogates, backing his bid early in the primary when it wasn’t certain he could beat back more liberal challengers. Now there is speculation she will be rewarded with an offer to join the administration, although it is unclear whether she would accept it and eschew running for a second term as mayor. One title being floated is secretary of housing and urban development, a job that would allow her to build on the affordable housing initiatives she introduced locally. More recently, she has also been mentioned as an option at transportation secretary, hailing from a city well known for gridlock.

ExploreAtlanta Mayor establishes $4.6 million trust fund to keep longtime residents in their homes

Sally Yates

Possible role: attorney general

Yates was acting attorney general upon Trump’s election, but he fired her early in his tenure when she refused to enforce a policy banning immigration from Muslim countries. A former U.S. attorney, she rose to second in command at the U.S. Justice Department during the Obama years. One of Biden’s top fundraisers in Georgia, she is now in the mix to once again serve as attorney general.

ExploreTrump fires Sally Yates, the latest Georgian to defy him

Raphael Bostic

Possible role: Federal Reserve chair

President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Bostic is under consideration as a possible treasury secretary or chair of the Federal Reserve. If either happens, he would be the first Black person to fill the role. Bostic already holds the claim of being the first African American in history to serve as a regional president in the central bank.

ExplorePandemic makes economic and racial gaps worse, Fed’s Bostic says

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

Possible role: energy secretary

A former deputy secretary of energy during the Obama administration, Sherwood-Randall is among the leading candidates to lead the Energy Department. She currently works at Georgia Tech as a distinguished professor in the School of International Affairs and a senior fellow at the Strategic Energy Institute.

Heather McTeer Toney

Possible role: Environmental Protection Agency director

We will admit, Toney is more accurately described as a former Georgian. She once served as head of the EPA’s Atlanta-based Southeast Regional Office. The former mayor of Greenville, Miss., is currently senior director of the Moms for Clean Air Force, an organization focused on addressing pollution, climate change and other issues.

Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming

Possible role: Environmental Protection Agency director

Fleming is another former director of the EPA’s Southeast Regional Office. She currently serves as a consultant for DeKalb County on its consent decree with state and federal regulators to reduce the number of sewage spills. A former DeKalb district attorney and solicitor general, she also served for a time as the EPA’s chief of staff.

ExploreDeKalb continues consulting with former county DA on sewer issues

Annie Andrews

Possible role: Secretary of the Navy

Andrews currently serves as an assistant administrator for human resources at the Federal Aviation Administration, but she is a former rear admiral of the U.S. Navy. In that role, she served as commander of the Navy Recruiting Command and became the third black woman in history to earn her rank. Andrews earned her undergraduate degree from Savannah State University.

Jim Powell

Possible role: Department of Energy

Powell served as the federal representative to the Southern States Energy Board during the Obama administration. He is a previous candidate for Georgia’s Public Service Commission, where he was defeated by Bubba McDonald in the 2008 runoffs. He also is a former national program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Who else?

We know that the biggest fundraisers for a campaign are often rewarded with diplomatic titles or posts on one of the dozens of federal commissions and advisory boards. So allow us to share this list of Biden’s top bundlers in Georgia who raised at least $100,000 and aren’t already mentioned above.

  • State Transportation Board member Kevin Abel
  • Former Ambassador Gordon Giffin
  • Peter Harrell, former deputy assistant secretary of state
  • RADCO Cos. founder and CEO Norman Radow,
  • Kenneth Taylor, a cardiologist
  • Michèle Taylor, a Democratic strategist
  • Former Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman David Worley

This article was originally published on Nov. 10, 2020. It has been updated.

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