President Biden Announces Key Administration Nominations
WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in domestic and economic positions.
- Jennifer Moffitt, Nominee for Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Department of Agriculture
- Alejandra Castillo, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Department of Commerce
- Mark Colón, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Javier Guzman, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General Civil Division, Department of Justice
- Elizabeth Watson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Labor
Jennifer Moffitt, Nominee for Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Department of Agriculture
Jenny Lester Moffitt is Undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, where she previously served as Deputy Secretary from 2015-18. Prior, Moffitt spent 10 years as Managing Director at Dixon Ridge Farms, her family’s organic walnut farm and processing operation. Growing up and working on the farm, Moffitt learned first-hand the importance of taking care of the land and the people who farm it. Additionally, she served on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board from 2012-15 and worked for American Farmland Trust from 2002-05.
As a farmer and policymaker, Moffitt has engaged with agricultural stakeholders on the critically important balance of sustaining our environment, strengthening our rural economies, and building healthy communities. Moffitt is a graduate of Brown University and the California Agricultural Leadership Program. She resides in Davis, California with her husband and daughter.
Alejandra Castillo, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Department of Commerce
Alejandra Y. Castillo stands as a committed public servant with expertise in the fields of public policy, legislation, regulation and federal programs. She is an accomplished leader who has served with distinction in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors where she advocated for economic development and job creation. Castillo is the immediate past CEO of YWCA USA, where she led the 163-year-old organization and its 204 associations serving over 2.3 million women and families across 1300 communities in the United States.
With more than two decades of professional experience in Washington D.C., Castillo has served in senior leadership roles in two previous presidential administrations with a specific focus on international trade, minority entrepreneurship and economic development. In 2014, she was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as national director of the Minority Business Development Agency, becoming the first Hispanic American woman to lead the agency. In that role, she helped secure financing and capital in excess of $19 billion and created or retained more than 33,000 jobs. Castillo is an active member in various civic and professional organizations, and she currently serves on several national nonprofit boards. She considers herself an embodiment of the American Dream, and she is committed to expanding opportunities for all Americans. On a personal note, she is also proud to have raised two amazing nieces who she calls her daughters.
Castillo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook; a Master’s in Public Policy from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; and a Juris Doctorate from American University, Washington College of Law.
Mark Colón, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Mark Colón is President of the Office of Housing Preservation at NY State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR). In this capacity, Mr. Colón has overseen one of the largest, most diverse affordable housing portfolios in the country, with more than 450,000 units in 3,200 developments across New York State. Previously, Colón served as HCR’s acting “Disaster Recovery” Counsel, helping to lead New York’s post-Hurricane Sandy housing recovery efforts, by designing policies for the award of more than $4B in federal, state and privately-sourced relief funding.
Prior to his government service, Mr. Colón practiced law at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett and Dechert LLP. Mark graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College/CUNY and received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as Managing Editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. Following law school, Mark clerked for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes, the first Hispanic justice in the history of the Third Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals.
Colón is currently the Chairperson of El Puente de Williamsburg and a board member of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). Colón is a native New Yorker and currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Gina Kim, and their 14-year old son.
Javier Guzman, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General Civil Division, Department of Justice
Javier Guzman is the Deputy General Counsel at Harvard University. His prior government service includes nearly 20 years at the U.S. Department of Justice across several components. He served as a trial attorney and deputy chief in the Civil Rights Division, where he investigated and litigated cases to protect access to equal educational opportunities for all students. He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC and Florida, where he litigated affirmative and defensive civil cases involving a broad range of substantive areas and federal agencies. During the Obama-Biden administration, he served as a Deputy Associate Attorney General, advising and working on significant matters arising in the areas of civil rights, environmental law, and federal programs. He also worked closely with the Office of Access to Justice to promote access to the civil and criminal justice systems, and the Community Relations Service in its mission to work with communities facing tensions and disputes arising from civil rights issues.
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Guzman worked in private practice as a litigator focusing on complex civil matters, including class actions and multidistrict litigation. He also maintained an active pro bono practice, working on a diverse range of cases, including educational rights, veterans benefits, and family law. Following his service at the Department, Guzman has continued to focus on litigation in the federal courts, much of it involving administrative and constitutional law issues, formerly at a public interest legal organization and presently at Harvard. Raised in New Orleans by parents who immigrated from Ecuador, Guzman is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Tulane Law School.
Elizabeth Watson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Labor
Liz Watson has spent most of her career working on labor and economic policy. Watson previously served as Labor Policy Director and Chief Labor Counsel on the House Committee on Education and Labor. Currently, she is Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. Earlier in her career, Watson directed the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy. She also worked at the National Women’s Law Center, and Workplace Flexibility 2010, at Georgetown University Law Center. Watson taught courses in employment law and legislative process at Indiana University. She was also an associate at Orrick and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, a Skadden Public Interest Law Fellow, and a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Susan Illston (N.D. Cal.). She earned her J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. degree from Carleton College. Watson grew up in Bloomington, Indiana and she currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, son and daughter, and their dog.