President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to cabinet positions in his administration, according to reports.
Fudge has been tapped by Biden to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed, the 68-year-old would be the first Black woman to lead the department since Patricia R. Harris did so under President Jimmy Carter.
She has previously served on the House Committee on Agriculture and is an advocate for fair labor practices and civil and human rights. Biden’s selection of one of the most prominent Black women in politics comes amid reports he has been under pressure to Black Americans to top posts.
“It is something that probably in my wildest dreams I would have never thought about, so if I can help this president in any way possible, I am more than happy to do it,” Fudge told NBC News. “It is a great honor and a privilege to be a part of something so good.
Biden promised to make his Cabinet the most diverse in history in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper last week.
House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, one of Biden’s most trusted allies, has long supported Fudge and said a month ago he’d hope for her to be a part of Biden’s administration.
Fudge previously served on the Congressional Black Caucus and one of the most vocal Democratic leaders in the House.
Fudge’s allies were secretly pushing for her to be nominated to be Agriculture Secretary but that position will go to Vilsack, who has previously served as Agriculture Secretary under former President Obama.
Vilsack’s history while working for President Obama would put a confidant in Biden’s cabinet. If confirmed, Vilsack would take over the department at a time where American farmers have been some of the hardest hit by President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Despite that, the farmers have remained loyal to the outgoing president.
In 1998, Vilsack became the first Democrat elected governor of Iowa and served from 1999 to 2007. While he was governor, he also served on the Democratic Governors Association for a year.
He ran in the 2008 presidential race but dropped out before endorsing Hillary Clinton and became co-chairman of her national campaign. Vilsack also won a $150,000 Powerball prize in the Iowa Lottery, and claimed his prize in February of this year.
The move shows Biden is filling his Cabinet and surrounding himself with longtime advisers and experts in their respective fields with whom he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris feel comfortable.