gautam raghavan

Gautam Raghavan (left) is shown here in a 2013 photo with former President Obama at the White House. (photo courtesy of Gautam Raghavan)

Former Vice President Joe Biden announced June 20 that he has chosen Gautam Raghavan, currently chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), to be on his transition team. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) will head the transition team, tasked with staffing and preparing for a Biden administration should he beat President Trump in November's election, according to a CNN report.

"The next president will confront an ongoing global health pandemic and inherit an economy in its worst shape since the Great Depression. No one will have taken office facing such daunting obstacles since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Joe Biden is prepared to meet these urgent challenges on the day he is sworn in as president, and begin the hard work of addressing the public health crisis and rebuilding an economy that puts working families first," Kaufman said in a statement issued by the campaign.

The campaign said it would bring on four other staffers in the coming weeks, including representatives from the more progressive wing of the party, CNN reported.

According to an earlier India-West report (https://bit.ly/2Bt4dbW), Raghavan, who endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary, earlier served in the Obama White House and at the Department of Defense.

“I’ve known and respected Pramila throughout my entire career,” Raghavan told India-West shortly after the appointment as chief of staff to Jayapal was announced.

Jayapal’s office was Raghavan’s first foray into legislative politics: he formerly served as deputy White House liaison to the Defense Department and played a critical role ending the controversial policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allowed lesbians and gays to serve in the military as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation.

Raghavan next served as the White House liaison to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the Office of Public Engagement. He served in that role as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, which prohibited gays and lesbians from getting married. Raghavan is credited with helping the administration define the court’s decision so that gay and lesbian marriages would be recognized by various governmental agencies.

He quit the White House in 2014 to join the Gill Foundation, one of the largest funders to organizations across the nation working to secure equal protection for the LGBT community.

In 2018, Raghavan joined the Indian American Impact Fund – IMPACT – as the nascent organization’s executive director. “As our founding executive director, Gautam has worked tirelessly to raise the visibility of our organization, our community, and our leaders,” said Raj Goyle, co-founder of IMPACT and chair of the Impact Project, in a statement. “While we’re sad to lose him, we are thrilled that he will be a top advisor to Congresswoman Jayapal, one of the most prominent Indian Americans in elected office today. This kind of talent pipeline is why IMPACT exists.”

“Under Gautam’s leadership, Impact Fund endorsed over 20 candidates and deployed more funds for Indian American candidates than any political organization in history,” said Deepak Raj, co-founder of IMPACT and chair of the Impact Fund. “We thank him for his hard work and look forward to building on this momentum to help even more candidates run, win, and lead in 2019, 2020, and years to come.”

Raghavan was born in India and raised in Seattle, Washington, and is a Stanford and George Washington University alumnus.

IANS adds from New York: In other news, Biden is holding his lead over President Trump in opinion polls and even increasing it in some as the COVID-19 pandemic and the national movement against police brutality against African Americans and racism challenge the incumbent's leadership.

The latest Fox News poll taken showed Biden, who is assured of his party's nomination to take on Trump in the Nov. 3 election, ahead by 12 percent – 50 to 38 percent. The poll was taken June 13 to 16.

But his lead was two percent less than a CNN poll taken from June 2 to 5 that showed Biden ahead by 14 percent – 55 to 41 percent.

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