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Who are the key figures nominated to be in Joe Biden’s cabinet?

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Joe Biden has nominated one of the more diverse cabinets in US history with some familiar faces from the previous Obama administration.

Many of the nominees for the President-elect”s incoming government will have to be confirmed by a majority vote in the US Senate, which may be easier for Democrats after two spectacular wins in Georgia.

Several hearings are already scheduled for next week when Biden is set to become the 46th president of the United States.

Here’s a look at some of the key figures who are nominated to work alongside the incoming US president and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

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Secretary of State: Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken will be the US’ top diplomat in the Biden administration, directing the country’s foreign relations. This means he will be a crucial figure in the administration and is likely to have contact with European leaders.

Blinken is the former Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration and has advised Biden since 2002 on foreign policy.

Secretary of Defence: Lloyd Austin

Lloyd Austin will be the first African American to hold the post of US defence secretary, putting him in charge of the US government’s largest and most expensive department.

Austin is a retired four-star General with more than 40 years of military service and was the chief architect of the military campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Secretary of the Treasury: Janet Yellen

Yellen, if confirmed, will be the first woman to lead the US Treasury, leading US economic policy and thus influencing the world economy.

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She is the former Chair of the US Federal Reserve and was the first woman to lead America’s central banking system. She also previously served as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Bill Clinton.

Attorney General: Judge Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland is well known to Americans after his nomination by President Barack Obama to the US Supreme Court in 2016.

Republicans in the Senate refused to hold hearings for Garland during an election year, angering many Democrats. Garland is viewed as a moderate, however, and is chief judge of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the second-highest court in the nation.

He will become the chief lawyer of the federal government and head of the Justice Department under Biden.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention: Dr. Rochelle Walensky

The US’ top agency for disease control and prevention will likely remain in the spotlight as the Biden administration continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading the agency will be Dr Rochelle Walenksy, the head of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr Walensky is known for her work on HIV/AIDS and is an expert on virus prevention.

Department of Health and Human Services: Xavier Becerra

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra who will be the first Latino to run the health and human services department.

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When he was a member of Congress, Becerra worked to pass the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration’s landmark healthcare legislation. As Attorney General in California, he worked to defend the act in the US court system.

Meanwhile, the US surgeon general, who oversees public health, will be Dr Vivek Murthy, who previously held the position in the Obama administration.

Dr Anthony Fauci, who has been one of the key faces of the US COVID-19 response, will be the chief medical advisor to Biden on the virus.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate: John Kerry

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry will serve as Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate. Kerry was the US diplomat responsible for negotiating and signing the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. He is well known to European leaders.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, who worked on clean energy policies in the state will take over the energy department.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be run by Michael Regan, who is currently Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

US Ambassador to the United Nations: Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Thomas-Greenfield served as a diplomat for 35 years before retiring in 2017. She has worked on four different continents, serving in Liberia, Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.

She previously served as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs in the Obama administration.

Secretary of Interior: Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland will become the first Native American to lead a US governmental department if confirmed as interior secretary.

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The 60-year-old congresswoman from New Mexico is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. As interior secretary, she would be in a role that has sway over the nearly 600 federally recognised tribes as well as the nation’s public lands, waterways, wildlife, national parks and mineral wealth.

Central Intelligence Agency Director: Ambassador William J. Burns

Burns worked in the US foreign service for 33 years and most recently was the director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

He previously served as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and was US Ambassador to Russia during the Bush administration.

Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines

Haines will be the first woman to serve as the Director of National Intelligence. She was previously the first woman to serve as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

She previously served as a national security advisor to President Obama.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas

If confirmed, Mayorkas would be the first Latino to run the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He was deputy secretary of the department from 2013 to 2016 and worked in law enforcement for 30 years.

US citizenship and immigration services, as well as customs enforcement, are run through DHS.

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