Kate Bedingfield was Biden’s director of communications for campaigns and will take on the same role in the White House. And Symone Sanders, senior advisor to Biden’s presidential campaign, will become senior advisor and keynote speaker to elected Vice President Kamala Harris.
“Our country faces unprecedented challenges – from the coronavirus pandemic to the economic crisis to the climate crisis and a long overdue reckoning of racial injustices,” Harris said in a statement. “To meet these challenges, we need to communicate clearly, honestly and transparently with the American people, and this experienced, talented and accessible team will help us.”
Biden’s incoming administration plans to resume the daily press conference that the Trump White House abolished in a controversial relationship with the media. At one point, the Trump administration was without a formal press conference for more than a year.
Here are the biographies of the seven appointed people announced by Biden and Harris.
Elizabeth E. Alexander, communications director for the first lady
Elizabeth E. Alexander was Senior Advisor to the Biden Harris Campaign. Alexander spent the early years of the Obama-Biden administration as the press secretary for Vice President Biden, a role that followed her time as Senator Biden’s communications director on Capitol Hill. She has worked as a federal attorney in the US law firms in Washington, DC and Alexandria, Virginia, where she also served as an advisor to the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to that, Alexander served as the United Nations Foundation Press Secretary, National Democratic Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Communications Director for Congressman Adam Schiff and Deputy Press Secretary for Senator Chuck Schumer. Prior to participating in the Biden Harris campaign, Alexander was Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, where she managed the communications offering for gender inclusion and equality in the workplace. Alexander is from Texas and is a graduate of Texas A&M University and Georgetown University Law Center. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and two young sons.
Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director
Kate Bedingfield was the assistant campaign manager and communications director for the Biden Harris campaign. She was director of communications for Vice President Biden and assistant director of communications, associate director of media affairs, and director of reaction in the Obama-Biden White House. Prior to the Obama-Biden administration, Bedingfield was director of communications for Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s successful 2008 Senate campaign, deputy national spokesperson for John Edwards’ presidential campaign, and regional spokesperson for the Democratic Committee on Congressional Campaigns in 2006 when Democrats won the house back. Bedingfield was also the chief spokesperson and vice president of corporate communications for the Motion Picture Association of America and vice president of communications for Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Bedingfield is from Georgia and is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, son, and daughter.
Ashley Etienne, communications director for the vice president
Ashley Etienne was a senior advisor to the Biden Harris campaign. Previously, Etienne was Director of Communications and Senior Advisor to House Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, the first woman and black person to hold this position. Etienne was special assistant to the president and director of communications for the cabinet in the Obama-Biden administration, and also directed communications through President Obama’s signature, “My Brother’s Keeper”. Prior to the Obama Biden administration, she was deputy communications director and spokesperson for then Democratic chairman Pelosi, communications director for House Democrats on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, spokesperson for the Corporation for National and Community Service, and spokesperson for the 2008 Obama Biden campaign in Virginia . Etienne has provided strategic advice to clients at Dewey Square Group and as President of her own consulting firm, Etienne & Associates. Etienne is from Texas and is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and Johns Hopkins University.
Karine Jean Pierre, deputy press officer
Karine Jean-Pierre was Senior Advisor to President-Elect Joe Biden and Chief of Staff to Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris for the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to her role in the campaign, she was the chief public affairs officer at MoveOn.org and a political analyst at NBC and MSNBC. Jean-Pierre served as Regional Political Director for the Political Affairs Office of the White House during the Obama-Biden administration and Deputy Director of Battlefield States for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. She was regional political director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign in the Southeast, assistant campaign manager for Martin O’Malley as president, campaign manager for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative, and assistant chief of staff and director of legislative and budgetary affairs for two members of the New Yorkers City council. She previously worked at the Center for Community and Corporate Ethics, pushing large corporations to change their business practices. Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique and grew up in New York. He is a graduate of Columbia University. ‘
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary
Jen Psaki is currently overseeing the confirmation team for the Biden-Harris transition. During the Obama-Biden administration, Psaki held a variety of senior roles including White House Communications Director, State Department spokesman under then Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Deputy Communications Director, and White House Deputy Press Secretary during the financial crisis. She is a veteran of three presidential campaigns, serving as traveling press secretary during the Obama Biden campaign in 2008, traveling press secretary and senior advisor in 2012, and assistant secretary for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004. Psaki was a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 when the Democrats won back the House of Representatives and also served as communications director for former Congressman Joe Crowley. Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Transition Team, Psaki was vice president of communications and strategy at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a CNN employee. Psaki is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and lives in Virginia with her husband and two children.
Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor and Main Speaker to the Vice President
Symone Sanders was a senior advisor to the Biden Harris campaign. In 2016, Sanders became the President’s youngest press secretary while working on Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign at the time. Prior to participating in the Biden Harris campaign, Sanders was a political commentator at CNN and a director of 360 Group LLC, providing strategic communications guidelines to organizations, corporations, individuals, campaigns and candidates. Sanders is the former Chair of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice’s Emerging Leaders Committee and a former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, where she has worked to raise young voices in the struggle for youth justice reform and bring millennial perspectives into political discussions. Sanders is from Nebraska and is a graduate of Creighton University. She currently resides in Washington DC with her partner.
Pili Tobar, White House deputy communications director
Pili Tobar was the Coalition Communications Director for the Biden Harris Campaign. Before joining the campaign, Tobar was the assistant director for America’s Voice, where she worked on behalf of immigrants. She also served as Hispanic Media Director for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, National Director for Hispanic Media and Western Regional Press Secretary for the National Democratic Committee, Communications Director for Congressman Ruben Gallego, and Communications Director for the Latino Victory Project. Tobar is from Florida and grew up in Guatemala. He is a graduate of the University of Miami. She lives in Washington DC with her wife and daughter.
Correction: Symone Sanders will serve as the main spokesperson for the Vice President-elect Harris.