Biden taps several long-time aides for White House roles

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Louisa Terrell, a long-time aide and Capitol Hill veteran, as his director of legislative affairs — a role that means she’ll be in charge of shepherding Biden’s agenda through what could be a divided Congress.

Terrell, a veteran of former President Barack Obama’s administration and Biden’s Senate office who was also New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s chief of staff, is also a former Facebook and Yahoo lobbyist. She was executive director of the Biden Foundation.

Her selection was one of four White House staffing announcements Biden’s transition team made Friday, bringing back into the fold several former Obama administration hands who had previously worked closely with Biden.

Biden has tapped Cathy Russell as the director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, an office that recruits and vets potential choices for about 4,000 jobs that presidents fill in departments and agencies throughout the executive branch.

Russell is a Washington veteran who has long advised Democratic officials on women’s issues, and — during eight years in the Obama administration — served as US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, an ambassador-at-large role created by Obama. Russell was chief of staff to Jill Biden during Obama’s first term in office.

Another eight-year veteran of the Obama administration, Carlos Elizondo, is being named the White House social secretary, a role that puts him in charge of planning and coordinating events such as state dinners, when the President hosts a foreign leader. Elizondo was Biden’s social secretary for the duration of his vice presidency, and will become the first Hispanic American and second man appointed to the position.

Jill Biden, meanwhile, named Mala Adiga as her policy director, choosing an experienced education policy hand as the incoming first lady focuses on education and plans to continue teaching community college classes. Adiga was a senior adviser to Jill Biden and senior policy adviser for Biden’s 2020 campaign, and previously worked for the Biden Foundation as director for higher education and military families.

Before that, during Obama’s administration, she was deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programs at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and worked in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as chief of staff and senior adviser to the ambassador-at-large.