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President-elect Biden’s Cabinet has numerous ties to New Jersey

President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet has numerous ties to New Jersey.

News 12 Staff

Dec 4, 2020, 2:20 AM

Updated 1,291 days ago

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More choices are expected later this month in President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet, including secretary of defense. And there is one New Jersey name that is on the shortlist for the position.
Montclair resident Jeh Johnson is reportedly under consideration for perhaps the most high-profile cabinet job still left: secretary of defense. Johnson served as secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration.
“What Jeh Johnson says to me is government competence,” Rider University political science professor Micah Rasmussen says.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris named Toms River native Rohini Kosoglu as her senior domestic policy adviser Thursday, the latest person with New Jersey ties who is expected to go to Washington when Biden takes office as president on Jan. 20.
“When your president calls and your president says he needs you, people respond to that,” says  Rasmussen.
Rasmussen says that he knows by the president-elect is turning to New Jersey for his Cabinet picks.
“We attract talent, we keep talent. And so, when the time comes for talent to be required in other places, our people are always at the top of the list,” Rasmussen says.
On Tuesday, Biden announced Princeton University official Dr. Cecilia Rouse as head of the Council of Economic Advisers. Rouse is the dean of the School of Public Affairs at Princeton.
“As every academic knows, when you've laid down roots at a school you love with incredible students and colleagues you've grown with, it isn't easy to take a leave,” Rouse said.
To head the Office of Management and Budget, the president-elect selected long-time Democratic operative Neera Tanden, who currently serves on Gov. Phil Murphy's COVID-19 Restart and Recovery Commission.
“She’s got a lot of controversial tweets. She lets them fly. She deleted 1,000 of them this week,” Rasmussen says.
New Jersey has often had ties to presidential cabinets. Republican Nick Brady served as treasury secretary for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Lisa Jackson headed the EPA for former President Barack Obama.
But despite his close relationship with President Donald Trump, former Gov. Chris Christie never joined the Trump Cabinet or got the attorney general post he craved.
“There's nothing more flattering than being absolutely in the center of the political universe, of the center of the decisions being made. It's absolutely seductive,” Rasmussen says.
He says another reason New Jersey has so much political talent is that the state elections are in odd-numbered years, alongside the even-numbered federal elections. So, unlike in other states, it's always an election year in the Garden State.


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