Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., is joining the senior White House staff of the incoming Biden-Harris administration, putting an experienced legislative voice on cybersecurity and related Federal IT issues in President-Elect Biden’s inner circle.

The congressman’s appointment as Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement was announced by the Biden-Harris transition team today.

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Rep. Richmond, who was elected to Congress in 2010, has been a member of the House Homeland Security, Ways and Means, and Judiciary committees, and was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He joined the Biden presidential campaign last year as a national co-chairman, and was named a co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition Team in September.

On the legislative front, Rep. Richmond until recently was chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, after serving previously as the panel’s ranking member.

In that capacity, he has been a strong voice on numerous security issues including the cybersecurity workforce gap, critical infrastructure protection, funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and providing Federal assistance for state and local cybersecurity efforts.

On the latter issue, Rep. Richmond is a cosponsor of the State and Local IT Modernization and Cybersecurity Act that proposes to inject $28 billion of Federal funding to boost state and local IT infrastructure and security.

Rep. Richmond’s appointment as Director of the Office of Public Engagement indicates that the Biden administration is reviving at least in part the Obama-era name of that office, which was created in 1974 as the White House Office of Public Liaison. Under President Obama, it was called the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. The Trump administration restored the Office of Public Liaison, and established a separate Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The appointment of Rep. Richmond was one of several announced today by President-Elect Biden. Others include:

Mike Donilon, senior advisor to the President, who was chief strategist for the Biden-Harris Campaign;

Jen O’Malley Dillon, Deputy Chief of Staff, who was campaign manager for the Biden-Harris Campaign;

Dana Remus, Counsel to the President, who was Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel for Ethics in the Obama White House;

Steve Ricchetti, Counsel to the President, who was chairman of the Biden-Harris Campaign;

Julie Rodriguez, Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, who was deputy campaign manager for the Biden-Harris Campaign and National Political Director of the presidential campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris;

Annie Tomasini, Director of Oval Office Operations, who has been President-Elect Biden’s Traveling Chief of Staff;

Anthony Bernal, Senior Advisor to Dr. Jill Biden; and

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere at the State Department during the Obama administration.

“I am proud to announce additional members of my senior team who will help us build back better than before,” President-Elect Biden said today in an announcement of the appointments. “America faces great challenges, and they bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling these challenges and emerging on the other side a stronger, more united nation.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.