President-elect Biden names Black women to serve key roles in his administration

Biden has named Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Shuwanza Goff to prominent posts in his administration

President-elect Joe Biden has named veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. ambassador to the United Nations and Shuwanza Goff as deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs. By choosing two prominent Black women to join his forthcoming administration, Biden is making good on his promise to choose from a diverse pool of candidates.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the former Foreign Service officer would be a notable and high-profile Black woman in Biden’s Cabinet and in a diplomatic government post. Biden confirmed the announcement Monday.

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Linda Thomas-Greenfield Shuwanza Goff
(Credit: U.S Department of State and Getty Images)

Thomas-Greenfield explained how her mother taught her “kindness and compassion,” in a tweet and that she’d carry those lessons if confirmed.

The choice of Thomas-Greenfield was lauded by those who know her.

“She understands peacekeeping, she understands the UN, she understands the developing world,” said Wendy Sherman, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the Obama administration, to USA Today on Monday.

Former congressman Tom Perriello described her as a “powerhouse” in a tweet.

“Indeed, she is a diplomatic powerhouse! Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield brings experience, gravitas, relationships and the most valuable of virtues – wisdom,” he tweeted.

“As US Ambassador to the UN, Amb @LindaT_G  could also play a key role inspiring a new generation of Americans to consider careers in diplomacy. We need to rebuild our diplomatic corps drawing on every part of our American community.”

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Thomas-Greenfield, known as “LTG” by the rank and file at the State Department, has a formidable resume. She served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs between 2013 and 2017 under former President Barack Obama. After a 35-year career, she announced her retirement from the Department in 2017.

After that, she worked as a senior counselor at the Albright Stonebridge advisory firm where she is currently on leave. It was founded by her mentor, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit Convenes In Washington DC
Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Linda Thomas Greenfield, speaks at the Civil Society Forum at the National Academy of Sciences as part of the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on Aug. 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The event is set to promote business relationships between the United States and African countries during the first-ever leaders summit, where 49 heads of state will be meeting in Washington over the next three days. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Reema Dodin and Shuwanza Goff were each named to be deputy directors of the Office of Legislative Affairs. In a first for a Black woman, Goff was previously the floor director for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer helping Democrats set their agenda.

Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina praised Goff as “talented and excellent” in a statement.

“Shuwanza Goff is talented & experienced with strong relationships on both sides of the aisle.  She managed the @HouseFloor seamlessly & is an excellent choice for WH leg affairs,” he tweeted.

“She may have been born in NY but she will always be a daughter of SC & continues to make us proud.”

Biden stressed the capability and commitment of his choices and that all viewpoints would be represented in his West Wing.

“The American people are eager for our Administration to get to work, and today’s appointees will help advance our agenda and ensure every American has a fair shot,” Biden said in a statement. “In a Biden administration, we will have an open door to the Hill and this team will make sure their views are always represented in the White House.”

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