President-Elect Joe Biden appointed three Boston College alumni—John Kerry, BC Law ’76; Louisa Terrell, BC Law ’95; and Cathy Russell, BC ’83—to his administration on Nov. 20. His picks will serve as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate on the National Security team, and as members of the White House Senior Staff, respectively.
“We are proud of the BC alumni who will be joining the Biden administration, and know that they will make substantial contributions to the effort to move the nation forward,” Senior Associate Director of University Communications Ed Hayward wrote in an email to The Heights. “Public service has always been a hallmark of a Jesuit education, and BC graduates serving in the highest level of government is a reflection of our commitment to this ideal.”
In a Nov. 30 tweet, Biden expressed confidence in the progress he believes his team will make.
My administration won’t just build back to the way things were before — we’re going to build back better. We’re going to ensure every single American has a fair shot to get ahead.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 1, 2020
Throughout his career, Kerry has been an advocate for climate change reform. Having served as the Secretary of State during president Barack Obama’s administration, Kerry signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, committing the United States to a reduction in carbon emissions, according to the Biden-Harris Transition website. More recently, Kerry launched a bipartisan organization called World War Zero, which aims at reaching net-zero carbon in the United States by the year 2050.
In a tweet three days after his appointment, Kerry emphasized his commitment to fighting the climate crisis.
The work we began with the Paris Agreement is far from done. I'm returning to government to get America back on track to address the biggest challenge of this generation and those that will follow. The climate crisis demands nothing less than all hands on deck. pic.twitter.com/xxfakodQ6d— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) November 23, 2020
As Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Kerry will be responsible for setting the agenda for the United States’ climate change reform and for reporting to Biden on climate policy. Kerry’s role will be the first official position on the National Security Council dedicated exclusively to climate change, Biden’s transition team said in a statement.
“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry said in a tweet on Nov. 23. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”
Biden selected Terrell and Russell to serve on the White House Senior Staff as director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs and Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, respectively.
Terrell currently serves on Biden’s transition team, and previously worked in the Obama administration as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. According to the Biden-Harris transition website, she also worked on Capitol Hill as Deputy Chief of Staff for Biden when he was a senator, and was later Chief of Staff for Senator Cory Booker.
In her new role,Terrell will serve as a liaison between Biden and Congress, according to the White House website.
Russell previously served as Deputy Assistant to the president and Chief of Staff to the Second Lady Jill Biden. She also was the United States Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, according to the Biden-Harris transition website. For Biden’s administration, Russell will evaluate and hire members of the executive branch, according to the White House website.
Biden’s appointments of the three BC graduates is a reflection of the University’s commitment to cultivating leaders, according to BC Law Dean Vincent Rougeau.
“BC Law has a long tradition of educating lawyers who become leaders, and we are proud to see two of our alumni, John Kerry ’76 and Louisa Terrell ’95, assume important positions in the new Biden administration,” Rougeau said in an email to The Heights. “We congratulate them on their appointments, and we thank them for their commitment to public service on behalf of our nation and the world.”
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor