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Biden taps former Atlanta mayor for senior post, names new W.H. counsel

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President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a slate of senior personnel changes ahead of the midterm elections in November, extending a high-profile position to former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and appointing a new White House counsel.

Bottoms, who served as Atlanta’s mayor from 2018 to January of this year and is currently a CNN political commentator, will become senior adviser to the president for public engagement, overseeing the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Bottoms was one of the women under consideration to be tapped as Biden’s running mate in the summer of 2020 before Vice President Kamala Harris was ultimately selected. Bottoms announced last May that she would not seek a second term as mayor. Her new role in the White House was previously occupied by former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), another close Biden ally.

“Mayor Bottoms understands that democracy is about making government work for working families, for the people who are the backbone of this country,” Biden said in a statement. He went on to praise her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, mass protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the shootings last March at three Atlanta-area spas that killed eight people, including six Asian women.

“Keisha is bright, honorable, tough and has the integrity required to represent our Administration to the American public,” Biden continued, adding that he and first lady Jill Biden “have known Keisha for a long time and look forward to working with her more closely.”

In addition to Bottoms’ appointment, Biden announced that Stuart Delery, who currently serves as deputy counsel to the president, will become assistant to the president and replace outgoing White House Counsel Dana Remus next month.

Biden said he was “immensely grateful” for Remus’ service, calling her as “an invaluable member of my senior staff” over the past three years who “helped reinstate a culture of adherence to the rule of law.” He added: “I wish her the best as she moves forward.”

Biden also announced that Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who currently serves as deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, will become senior adviser and assistant to the president while carrying on in her director role.

Biden said Delery’s and Rodriguez’s elevations represent “two historic promotions to our senior team,” and he described the pair of White House officials as “dedicated public servants that bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling the critical issues our nation faces today.”

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