One of the first and most important tasks for any new administration is appointing members of the president’s cabinet, cabinet-level officials, and agency heads. These high-level appointees help determine the policy priorities and actions of the new administration and are critical to maintaining a functional and successful executive branch. The majority of these appointees need to be confirmed by the Senate, which means the process can continue on into the first few weeks or months of a new presidency. So far seven of President Biden’s appointees have been confirmed by the Senate, and the remainder will be voted on in coming weeks.
As appointees have been named, it’s become clear that the Biden administration has been taking the priorities of young Americans into account, including our generations’ calls for stronger diversity in the administration, increased power behind efforts to protect the climate, and bold solutions to address the student debt crisis. There are many qualified cabinet and cabinet-level appointees that young people are likely to support, but we wanted to highlight three of the appointees we’re excited to see in powerful government roles for a variety of reasons—from proven track records that we think will serve young people well, to historic representation, to a newly created position that responds to the priorities articulated by young Americans during the 2020 campaign.
Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Rohit has long been a champion for the rights and protection of student borrowers, who are disproportionately likely to be young people and people of color. Chopra, who is currently a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, previously served as the assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where he worked directly on protections for people with student loans. As director of the CFPB, young people can expect Chopra to restore the CFPB’s founding mission to protect Americans from bad actors who seek to exploit them and be a consistent advocate for young consumers. Previously, Rohit served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and worked alongside Generation Progress to address the student debt crisis.
Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior
Even before Biden named Rep. Haaland as his choice for Secretary of the Interior, many young people—including young Indigenous activists and progressive groups like the Sunrise movement—were actively calling for Biden to appoint her to lead this agency because they trust her to stand up to fossil fuel corporations and prioritize preserving resources threatened by lax environmental regulations and climate change. If confirmed, Rep. Haaland, currently a Congresswomen representing New Mexico, will be the first-ever Indigenous person to serve as a Cabinet secretary.
Gina McCarthy, White House National Climate Advisor
Gina McCarthy, who previously served as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama, will be the first person to hold the newly established position of White House National Climate Advisor. In this role, McCarthy will serve as Biden’s chief advisor on domestic climate change policy. During the presidential campaign, young people were adamant that climate change must be addressed by the incoming administration as the critical and life-threatening issue that it is. This new role is a signal that the Biden administration has heard those demands and agrees that the climate crisis should be addressed at the very top levels of government. In her capacity as national climate advisor, McCarthy has already signalled that intersectionality will be a priority in the administration’s domestic climate policy—an approach that many young climate activists have called for.