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Profs, Alumni Join Obama Transition Teams

By Marianna N Tishchenko, Contributing Writer

Several University alumni and faculty members, many hailing from the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School, have joined President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team.

In the coming weeks, these Harvard affiliates will review hundreds of federal government agencies and programs, as well as select new personnel to manage them.

Public Policy Lecturer Marla Felcher, whom the Obama team tapped for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said she was looking forward to taking part in the transition.

“I’m excited about the work that’s going to be done” she said. “A lot is going to have to be done very quickly, but Obama seems motivated to make that happen.”

Other faculty selected from the Kennedy School include Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy Samantha Power for the National Security Team and the State Department; Public Policy Lecturer Linda Bilmes for the Department of Veterans Affairs; Science and International Affairs Professor Ashton B. Carter for the National Security Team and Department of Defense; and Public Policy Professor Jeffrey B. Liebman for the Executive Office of the President.

Joint Center for Housing Studies Director Nicolas P. Retsinas will serve on the Department of Health and Human Services Team and Housing and Urban Development; Public Policy Lecturer Sarah B. Sewall will lead the National Security Team; and Public Policy Lecturer John White will lead the National Security Team, according to a Kennedy School press release.

A number of Kennedy School alumni have also gotten involved, including Josh Gotbaum, who will lead the Economics and International Trade Team, and Joani L. Walsh, who will serve as a special assistant on the Agency Review Transition Working Group. Peter M. Rouse, who served as Senator Obama’s chief of staff, will now serve as his senior adviser.

In addition to soliciting Kennedy School affiliates, the Obama administration tapped a handful of professors and alumni from the Law School, the president-elect’s alma mater, according to the Harvard Law Record.

Thomas E. Perez, who is also a Kennedy School alum, will work with the Justice, health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and urban Development departments. Clark Kent Ervin ’80 will review Department of Homeland security transition issues.

Professor David J. Barron, David W. Ogden and Thomas J. Perrelli will review the Department of Justice. Spencer A. Overton will work with the Justice and Civil Rights team. Shirley S. Sagawa will work with the Corporation for National Service, and Mara E. Rudman will serve on the Executive Office of the President Team and lead the review of the Office of Economic Advisors.

George T. Frampton, Jr. will be responsible for reviewing the Council on Environmental Quality, Todd D. Stern will review the transition of the White House Office. John D. Leshy ’66 will review the Department of Interior’s transition.

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