Professors from Harvard and MIT and a top aide to Senator John F. Kerry's presidential campaign will be joining the Obama budget office, his team announced this afternoon.
Jeffrey Liebman, now Malcolm Wiener professor of public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, will be executive associate director of the Office of Management and Budget. Robert Gordon, policy director for Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004, will be associate director for education, income maintenance, and labor. And Xavier de Souza Briggs, associate professor of sociology and urban planning at MIT, will be associate director for general government programs. (Their biographies, provided by Obama's transition office, are below.)
Obama also announced Steve Kosiak as Associate Director for Defense and International Affairs; Preeta Bansal as OMB General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor; and Kenneth Baer as Associate Director for Communications and Strategic Planning.
“We are fortunate to have this distinguished group of individuals serving in these key posts, and with Peter Orszag I am confident that this team will be well-equipped to tackle the challenges ahead. The Office of Management and Budget in my administration will not only design, manage and implement our budget, it will focus on cutting waste and making sure that our government is serving the American people effectively and efficiently. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” Obama said in a statement.
Jeffrey Liebman, Executive Associate Director
Liebman is currently the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he teaches courses in public sector economics and American economic policy. In his research, he studies tax and budget policy, social insurance, poverty, and income inequality. Recent research has examined the impacts of government programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Social Security, and housing vouchers. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) where he is the Associate Director of the NBER Retirement Research Center. In the Clinton Administration, Liebman served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy in the White House National Economic Council from 1998-1999. Liebman received his BA from Yale University and his PhD in economics from Harvard.
Robert Gordon, Associate Director for Education, Income Maintenance and Labor
Gordon is a Senior Fellow at American Progress, where he focuses on education and domestic policy. While on leave from the Center in 2006 and 2007, Gordon served as a senior advisor to the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, leading an overhaul of the city’s multi-billion dollar school budgeting system and developing new human capital initiatives. Prior to joining American Progress in 2005, he was domestic policy director for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. He previously worked for Senator John Edwards (D-NC) as Judiciary Committee counsel, legislative director, and policy director on his first presidential campaign. Earlier in his career, Gordon was a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a Skadden Fellow at the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where he represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings. Gordon also served in the Clinton White House as an aide to the National Economic Council and the Office of National Service, helping craft the legislation creating AmeriCorps. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College.
Xavier de Souza Briggs, Associate Director for General Government Programs
Xavier de Souza Briggs is Associate Professor of Sociology + Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A former community planner and senior U.S. government official, his work is about leadership and democratic institutions, inequality, and racial and ethnic diversity in cities. He is the editor of The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America (Brookings, 2005), which won the highest book award in planning, and his newest book—Democracy as Problem-Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities across the Globe—was published by The MIT Press in August. It examines local policy innovation and democratic governance in cities in Brazil, India, South Africa, and the U.S. A third book, Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty, is forthcoming summer 2009 (Oxford University Press). It presents a rethinking of anti-poverty policy, the role of housing in a larger opportunity agenda, and the lived experience and outlook of very low-income people in a major federal demonstration program. Xav is founder and director of The Community Problem-Solving Project @ MIT and Working Smarter in Community Development, two popular and innovative online resources for people and institutions worldwide. A former faculty member in public policy at Harvard, he has designed and led major leadership development, strategy, and other training programs for those in the public, private, and nonprofit/nongovernmental sectors. He has also consulted on urban strategy to leading national and international organizations, such as The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and The World Bank. In the public sector, he ran the Clinton Administration’s urban policy research and development unit at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, interacting regularly with the White House, Congress, major media, and local leaders on affordable housing, economic development, regional problem-solving, and sustainable development issues. He is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change and other advisory groups, and his views have appeared in the New York Times, Salon.com, National Public Radio, Boston Globe, and other major media. He was educated at Stanford (engineering), Harvard (public policy and management), and Columbia University (sociology and education).
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