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Biden brings top campaign aides to White House jobs

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WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – US President-elect Joe Biden is beginning to fill out his roster of top White House aides, with Mr Cedric Richmond and Ms Jen O’Malley Dillon planning to take top jobs, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr Richmond, a Louisiana congressman, will take a senior role that would include public engagement. Ms O’Malley Dillon, Mr Biden’s campaign manager, will be a deputy chief of staff, the people said.

Mr Richmond would leave his seat in the House of Representatives just after being elected to his sixth term. He has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday (Nov 17).

A national co-chair of Mr Biden’s campaign, Mr Richmond will be one of the highest-ranking Black aides in the White House.

The Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration was run by Ms Valerie Jarrett, a top aide, and it coordinated events and communications involving the general public.

Ms O’Malley Dillon is the first woman to run a successful Democratic presidential campaign. Her White House position was first reported by NBC.

The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Richmond is also a co-chair of the Biden-Harris transition team, and is close to South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, whose late February endorsement of Mr Biden helped revive the then-struggling candidate’s campaign.

He was one of Mr Biden’s earliest backers and most visible surrogates during the campaign, often appearing on television to defend Mr Biden at low points of his campaign.

Mr Biden’s inner circle is comprised largely of White men, many of whom have worked with him for decades.

Mr Ron Klain, who Mr Biden named as chief of staff last week, will likely be accompanied in the White House by Mr Ted Kaufman, Mr Mike Donilon, Mr Steve Ricchetti, Mr Jeff Zients, Mr Bruce Reed and Mr Jake Sullivan, according to several people familiar with the transition.

Mr Richmond will likely be one of the few sitting members of Congress to join the administration, given Democrats’ narrow majority in the House and slim minority in the Senate, and so he may be called on to play a role in negotiations with Congress.

“I think Vice-President Biden will be a different kind of president,” Mr Richmond said Sunday on CBS. “I think he’s going to be able to bring House members from the Republican side, House members, Senate Republicans together on legislation. He served with many of them.”

Mr Richmond represents a safe Democratic district, so it’s unlikely the House will lose another Democratic seat after several incumbents were defeated by Republicans in this month’s election.

A number of Democrats are already considering running for Mr Richmond’s seat, including Ms Karen Carter Peterson, a state senator and vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Ms Cleo Fields, a state senator, and Ms Natalie Robottom, former president of St. John the Baptist Parish.