Biden made his first administration hire this week, with others on the horizon. Here are some top contenders.

© Carolyn Kaster, AP Joe Biden, the former vice president and longtime fixture of American politics, will become the 46th president of the United States.

President-elect Joe Biden made his first appointment for his administration this week, naming Ron Klain, a senior campaign adviser and onetime top aide for the former vice president, as the White House chief of staff.

More appointments are expected in the coming weeks.

“I hope we’re able to be in a position to let people know, at least a couple that we want, before Thanksgiving, and we’ll just work this out,” the president-elect said Tuesday.

Biden has long said that his Cabinet will also reflect how the country looks, noting he will have women and people of color in leadership positions.

Here are some of the top names being floated for Cabinet positions:

Attorney General

Doug Jones, who lost reelection for his seat as a U.S. Senator from Alabama, will be without a job come January. Jones is a former federal prosecutor and gained notoriety in the Senate after a stunning upset during a special election in 2017 to replace Jeff Sessions. During his time as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, Jones prosecuted two members of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 2000s for their roles in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing from 1963.

Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, is another contender for the position. Perez formerly served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in President Barack Obama’s administration prior to being appointed as Secretary of Labor, the second Latino person to hold that position.

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Sally Yates, former deputy attorney general in the Obama administration, served briefly during the Trump administration transition as acting attorney general. She was fired for refusing to support the president’s ban on immigration from Muslim countries.

Defense Department

Michele Flournoy, is a former undersecretary of defense in the Obama administration who served under Robert Gates and Leon Panetta. She is co-founder and managing partner of WestExec Advisors and co-founded the think tank Center for a New American Security, where she serves on the board. If appointed, she would be the first woman named Secretary of Defense.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is a member of the Armed Services Committee and an Army National Guard veteran who lost her legs when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Duckworth, whose mother is from Thailand, was assistant secretary of veterans affairs in the Obama administration. If appointed, she would be the first Asian American woman named Secretary of Defense.

State Department

Susan Rice served as national security adviser and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama administration. Biden already considered her as his running mate after working with her in the White House. But Rice could face a rocky confirmation in a closely divided Senate because of statements she made after the 2012 attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya. Republicans said she misled the American public about the nature of that attack, which left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead. If appointed, she would be the second Black woman to be named Secretary of State.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., is an adviser to Biden who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee.


Lael Brainard, is a governor at the Federal Reserve who served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations.

Sarah Bloom Raskin, served as deputy Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration, is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and previously served as Maryland’s commissioner of financial regulation. Currently, she is a visiting professor at Duke University and is a lawyer. If appointed, she would be the first woman named Treasury Secretary.

Janet Yellen was the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018. She previously was the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under the Clinton administration. She is considered a top contender, according to Bloomberg. If appointed, she would be the first woman named Treasury Secretary.

Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas, is a Cuban American lawyer who ran Citizenship and Immigration Services before becoming deputy secretary of the department during the Obama administration. If appointed, he would be the first Latino person named Secretary of Homeland Security.

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Health and Human Services

Vivek Murthy, a trustee of the Rand Corp. and health adviser to Biden’s campaign. Murthy, was surgeon general during the Obama administration. If appointed, he would be the first person of South Asian descent to be named Secretary of Health and Human Services.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, whom Biden considered as vice president previously was a state Cabinet secretary for the Department of Aging and Long-term Services from 2002 to 2004 and the Department of Health from 2004 to 2007. If appointed, she would be the second Latina named Secretary of Health and Human Services.


Julie Su, secretary of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency, is a contender for Labor Secretary. Prior to that position, she was California labor commissioner. If appointed, she would be the second Asian American woman named Secretary of Labor.

William Spriggs, is a professor of economics at Howard University, chief economist to the AFL-CIO and former assistant secretary of labor during the Obama administration. If appointed, he would be the first Black man named Secretary of Labor.


Randi Weingarten, is the head of the American Federation of Teachers. She personally endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren during the Democratic primary but organized virtual campaign events for Biden.

Lily Garcia, former head of the National Education Association whose mother is from Panama. She serves on the president’s advisory commission on educational excellence for Hispanics and is a board member of the Economic Policy Institute. If appointed, she would be the first Latina named Secretary of Education.


Eric Garcetti is the mayor of Los Angeles and co-chairman of Biden’s vice presidential search committee. If appointed, he would be the third Latino man named Secretary of Transportation

Housing and Urban Development

Alvin Brown is a former mayor of Jacksonville, Fla. He was an adviser to Andrew Cuomo when he was HUD secretary during the Clinton Administration.

Maurice Jones served as deputy undersecretary of the department during Obama’s administration  and is currently the president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. After his work for the Obama administration, Jones served as Virginia’s secretary of commerce under Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

If either are appointed, they would be the fourth Black man named HUD Secretary, and it would be the first time a Black man succeeded another Black man in the role.


Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, heads the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition and Oversight. If appointed, she would be the first Black woman named Secretary of Agriculture.

Heidi Heitkamp, is a former senator from North Dakota who served on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and previously served as state attorney general.

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, is a former member of the House representing the state, which includes several of the department’s facilities.

Ernest Moniz is a nuclear physicist who served as President Obama’s Energy Secretary.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall was the United States Deputy Secretary of Energy during Obama’s second term. During Obama’s first term, she served as White House coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control.


Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., is a registered member of the Native American tribe Pueblo of Laguna who serves on the Natural Resources Committee. If appointed, she would be the first Indigenous person to serve as Secretary of the Interior, which is home to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Tom Udall is the outgoing senator from New Mexico and did not run for re-election in 2020. His father, Stewart Udall, was the interior secretary for both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Veterans Affairs

Pete Buttigieg, is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a primary rival of Biden who served in the Navy Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan. Buttigieg also has been mentioned as a potential U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He would be the first out gay man appointed to either position.

Duckworth, the senator from Illinois, is also considered in the running for the VA position. She would be the first Asian American woman named Secretary of Veterans Affairs.


Rohit Chopra, is member of the Federal Trade Commission and former undersecretary of education during the Obama administration. If appointed, he would be the first person of South Asian descent to serve as Secretary of Commerce.

Terry McAuliffe is the former governor of Virginia and the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He is also a former banker and investor.

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Director of National Intelligence

Sen. Angus King, the Maine independent who caucuses with Democrats, is a top contender for director of national intelligence, according to Politico. King is a member of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees.

Central Intelligence Agency

Avril Haines, former deputy director of CIA, is the first woman to serve in that post, and was deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. If appointed, she would be the third woman to serve as Director of the CIA.

Thomas E. Donilon, is a former national security adviser in the Obama administration who oversaw the transition at the State Department.

Michael Morell, is a 30-year CIA veteran who served as the agency’s acting director and its deputy director from 2010 to 2013.

U.S. trade representative

Jennifer Hillman has extensive experience in trade and international economics as a former World Trade Organization judge and a one-time general counsel in the USTR’s office.

Source: USA Today