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Three More South Asian Americans Named to Important Positions at the Biden White House

Three More South Asian Americans Named to Important Positions at the Biden White House

  • Indian American Garima Verma appointed as digital director in office of First Lady.

President-elect Joe Biden has named Sonia Aggarwal as Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Innovation at the Office of Domestic Climate Policy, Sameera Fazili as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, and Zayn Siddique as Senior Advisor to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff. 

“To tackle the challenges facing our country and restore faith in government we must build an administration with experienced, principled, and dedicated appointees. These individuals are part of a White House staff that is ready to build back better immediately to make a difference in the lives of working families. They are accomplished public servants who will be instrumental in ensuring that our White House is efficient and effective in delivering for the American people,” Biden said.

Aggarwal was a co-founder and the vice president of Energy Innovation. While at Energy Innovation, she acted as founding executive director of the Climate Imperative project; led America’s Power Plan, bringing together 200 electricity policy experts; and directed the team that developed the Energy Policy Simulator to analyze the environmental, economic, and public health impacts of climate and energy policies. 

Prior, Aggarwal managed global research at ClimateWorks Foundation, where she worked on the McKinsey carbon abatement cost curves and led research for the American Energy Innovation Council. Born and raised in Ohio, she graduated from Haverford College in astronomy and physics, and earned a masters at Stanford University in civil engineering.

Fazili is the Economic Agency lead on the Biden-Harris Transition. Prior to her role she was at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta where she served as the Director of Engagement for Community and Economic Development. In the Obama-Biden administration, Fazili served as a senior policy advisor on the White House’s National Economic Council and as a senior advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department in both Domestic Finance and International Affairs. Prior to that she was a clinical lecturer of law at Yale Law School. Originally from Buffalo, she now lives in Georgia with her husband and three children. Fazili is a graduate of Yale Law School and Harvard College.

Siddique is the Chief of Staff for the Domestic and Economic Team of the Biden-Harris Transition. He was also a member of Vice President-elect Harris’s prep team for the 2020 vice-presidential debate. Previously, Siddique was the deputy policy director for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign and a senior policy advisor to his senate campaign. 

He has also served as a law clerk to Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Dean Pregerson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In between his clerkships, Siddique practiced law as an associate at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.  Originally from Bangladesh and raised in New York, Siddique is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Meanwhile, digital and social media expert Garima Verma has been named digital director in the Office of the First Lady. Verma will work closely with the incoming First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and play a critical role in supporting the operations of the her office. 

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Verma served as an audience development and content strategist on the Biden-Harris campaign. Before joining the campaign, Verma was a volunteer with the content team, designing graphics for distribution to Biden-Harris volunteers across the country. She previously worked in the entertainment space marketing films at Paramount Pictures and television shows at The Walt Disney Company’s ABC Network and media agency Horizon Media. She has also served as an independent consultant in marketing, design and digital for a number of small business and non-profit clients. She was born in India and grew up in Ohio and the Central Valley of California. Verma is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Also appointed to the First Lady’s office is Mala Adiga who will work as policy director to Dr. Biden. A native of Illinois, Adiga previously served as a senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden and a senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. Prior to that, she was the director for Higher Education and Military Families at the Biden Foundation.

Siddique, Fazili and Aggarwal join a host of Indian Americans previously appointed to various posts in the White House. Last week, Neha Gupta and Reema Shah were named to the White House Counsel as associate counsel and deputy associate counsel, respectively. A few days earlier, Sabrina Singh, a longtime aide to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was appointed as White House Deputy Press Secretary; while Aisha Shah was named to the White House digital team. 

Last month, the president-elect named Gautam Raghavan, Vinay Reddy and Vedant Patel to senior positions in the White House. Raghavan will serve as the deputy director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, while Reddy was named as director of speechwriting, and Patel was named as the  Assistant White House Press Secretary.

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