President Biden Announces Key Nominees
WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his administration:
- Shefali Razdan Duggal, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of the Netherlands
- Susie Feliz, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Commerce
- Brendan Owens, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations and Environment, Department of Defense
- Russell Rumbaugh, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller), Department of Defense
- Rheanne Wirkkala, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Department of Defense
- Carmen Cantor, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, Department of the Interior
- Naz Durakoğlu, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Department of State
- Rebecca Dye, Nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission
- Luis Botello, Nominee for Member of the International Broadcasting Advisory Board, United States Agency for Global Media
- Kenneth Jarin, Nominee for Member and Chair of the International Broadcasting Advisory Board, United States Agency for Global Media
- Janet Keller, Nominee for Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
Shefali Razdan Duggal, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Shefali Razdan Duggal, an immigrant to the United States from Kashmir, India, is an experienced political activist, women’s rights advocate, and human rights campaigner. Razdan Duggal is a former Presidential Appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council, and continues to serve as a Western Regional Advisor. She is a San Francisco Committee member of Human Rights Watch, a member of the Wake Forest University Leadership and Character Council, and served on the National Board of Directors for Emily’s List. Razdan Duggal is the recipient of numerous civic awards, including being recognized with the Western Regional Leadership Award by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, as a Community Hero by the California State Assembly, and as one of the Most Powerful Women in California by the National Diversity Council. She served National Co-Chair of Women for Biden, and as a Deputy National Finance Chair at the Democratic National Committee.
Razdan Duggal received a B.S. in Mass Communication from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and a M.A. in Media Ecology from New York University.
Susie Feliz, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Commerce
Susie Feliz has nearly two decades of Capitol Hill experience as an aide to former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY); a legislative director to Representatives Joe Baca (CA-43), Al Green (TX-09) and Karen Bass (CA-37), including as a leader of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association; and currently as the Vice President for Policy and Legislative Affairs at the National Urban League. As a result, she brings an in-depth understanding of how public policy is formulated, an extensive network across all levels of government, the private sector, trade associations, and civil society, and a track record of creating and then shepherding legislation through its congressional life cycle.
In her current role at the National Urban League, Feliz is responsible for directing and overseeing the Washington Bureau’s policy team in the development of public policy priorities and advocacy strategies that advance the National Urban League’s economic empowerment and civil rights agenda. As such, Feliz promotes the Urban League’s policy objectives externally through strategic advocacy before Congress and the Administration as well as through targeted education and outreach to business leaders, advocacy organizations, and other key stakeholders and partners. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Denver. She has called the DMV area home for the last 22 years, and lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and their two sons.
Brendan Owens, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations and Environment, Department of Defense
Brendan Owens is Principal of Black Vest Strategy, a consultancy focused on the intersection of health, equity, and climate issues in the built environment. He is also a co-founder of Ecountabl, Inc., a platform seeking to democratize access to corporate environmental, social, and governance information. Prior to founding Black Vest Strategy, he had a 19-year career with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). At USGBC, Owens supported the technical development of USGBC’s LEED Green Building Rating System, as well as the creation of numerous other building sector standards and codes for green buildings, net zero energy buildings, and grid interactive buildings. He has experience across supply and demand sectors of the energy industry, buildings, and infrastructure with a focus on integrative technology and inclusive policy to optimize outcomes. Prior to his work at USGBC, Owens was the energy manager at U.S. Army’s Fort Belvoir, where he participated in source selection, implementation, and measurement and verification of what was the largest energy savings performance contract in Department of Defense history.
Owens is an engineering graduate from Purdue University where he serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University’s Honor’s College. He is a Virginia-registered Professional Engineer, a Board Member for the New Buildings Institute, a member of the Environmental Policy Commission for the City of Alexandria, VA, a member of ASHRAE, and was honored as a LEED Fellow in 2012. He grew up a Coast Guard child, but considers Old Town Alexandria, VA – where he lives with his wife, Wendy, and their children, Harper and Eamon – home.
Russell Rumbaugh, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller), Department of Defense
Russell Rumbaugh currently analyzes institutional policy at the Center for Space Policy and Strategy at the non-profit Aerospace Corporation. He has previously worked on national security budgets in the Department of Defense, the U.S. Congress, and in think tanks. Rumbaugh served twice in the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office, as the Defense and International Analyst on the Senate Budget Committee, and on personal staff in the House of Representatives. Additionally, he was the Director of Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense at the Stimson Center, and worked at the Congressional Research Service. Rumbaugh began his career as a U.S. Army infantry officer. He has taught a graduate course on defense budgets at Georgetown University, George Mason University, and the University of Maryland, and has published on the subject.
Rumbaugh holds degrees in political science and security studies from the University of Chicago and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and is married to Dr. Candice Chen. They have two children.
Rheanne Wirkkala, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Department of Defense
Rheanne Wirkkala joined the Biden-Harris Administration in February 2021 and currently serves as the Special Assistant for Strategy to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. In that role, Wirkkala helps drive Secretary Austin’s national defense priorities, and is responsible for long-term strategic planning for the Secretary of Defense. Wirkkala has spent a decade in federal service. Before joining the Biden-Harris Administration, she served in various roles on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, including as the Director of Investigations, Deputy Director of Investigations, Policy Director, and as a Professional Staff Member. Prior to serving on the Committee, Wirkkala was an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, focused on political and military leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on al Qaida. Wirkkala also served at the State Department in the office responsible for counter-threat finance and economic sanctions policy.
Wirkkala has a master’s degree in International Relations from Yale University, and bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University. She studied abroad at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. Wirkkala is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Truman National Security Project Security Fellow. She is married with two children.
Carmen Cantor, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, Department of the Interior
Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor is a career member of the Senior Executive Service and currently serves as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federated States of Micronesia. Previously, Cantor served in various roles within the Department of State, including as the Executive Director of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Bureau of International Information Programs, Executive Director of the Bureau of Counterterrorism, Director of the Office of Civil Service Human Resource Management, and as Deputy Director for Recruitment, Examination, and Employment. Cantor also served as Director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Foreign Agricultural Service, and as Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity at the Federal Maritime Commission.
Cantor earned a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and an M.A. from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.
Naz Durakoğlu, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Department of State
Naz Durakoğlu currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to returning to the Department of State, she was Senior National Security Advisor to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Earlier in her career, Durakoğlu was a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab where she researched foreign election interference trends. Durakoğlu also served in the Obama-Biden Administration as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. She began her career in the U.S. House of Representatives where she held various positions, including as Legislative Director to Congressman Bill Keating, Subcommittee Staff Director on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Mike McMahon.
Durakoğlu is a first-generation American who speaks fluent Turkish and holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a M.A. from the Naval War College.
Rebecca Dye, Nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission
Rebecca F. Dye, of Virginia, has nearly 20 years of experience at the Federal Maritime Commission, having been appointed to serve by Presidents of both parties. While at the Commission, Dye has led four fact-finding investigations, and has developed an innovative approach to produce collaborative solutions in the nation’s complex supply chain. Most recently, Dye has worked to address systemic congestion in the U.S. international ocean freight delivery system, and to eliminate fees and charges that add unnecessary cost and complexity for U.S. exporters and importers.
Dye comes to the Commission with an extensive background in maritime matters. She began her federal career as a commissioned officer and attorney in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of the Chief Counsel, then served as a law instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. After two years as an attorney at the U.S. Maritime Administration, she joined the staff of the former Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and later the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives, providing advice to Members of Congress on issues pertaining to commercial shipping, international maritime agreements, oil pollution, maritime safety, and law enforcement. Dye graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Luis Botello, Nominee for Member of the International Broadcasting Advisory Board, United States Agency for Global Media
Luis Botello is a journalist with more than 30 years of experience building and enabling free and independent press around the world. After covering international and domestic affairs in Latin America, he became a strong advocate for press freedom and high standards in journalism. The driving force behind his career is his mission to promote high-quality, in-depth reporting that holds governments accountable.
Botello currently serves as Deputy Vice President of Global Impact and Strategy at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), where he oversees ICFJ’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning process and leads ICFJ’s efforts in ensuring programs’ impact. In previous leadership roles at ICFJ, he launched the International Journalists Network (IJNet), and expanded ICFJ’s presence in Latin America, where it is now a journalism organization that develops groundbreaking programs on journalism ethics, press freedom, digital technology, and investigative reporting in more than 20 countries. He has taught courses at American University, Hampton University, and the Interamerican Defense College in Washington, D.C., as well as the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. Botello is also an international media analyst for major news networks such as CNN en Español, NTN24, and Voice of America. He serves as a board member for the Fund for Investigative Journalism, the Border Center for Journalism and Bloggers, and the Latin American Center for Journalism (CELAP). He has a master’s degree in mass communications and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Louisiana State University.
Kenneth Jarin, Nominee for Member and Chair of the International Broadcasting Advisory Board, United States Agency for Global Media
Kenneth Jarin is partner in the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP. For a significant part of his career both as a city solicitor and private practitioner, he specialized in labor and employment law, serving as chief labor negotiator for many cities and states including the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. More recently, he founded and led the firm’s public policy and political law compliance practice. In government, Jarin served as Chief Deputy City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia early in his legal career. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, he was a Board Member on the National Council on the Arts, the governing body of the National Endowment for the Arts. He also chaired the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which governs Pennsylvania’s 14 public universities. In the non-profit arena, Jarin has served as a Board Member of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, the Anti-Defamation League, the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
Jarin grew up in Oreland, Pennsylvania, where he worked his way through college as a mailman. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his J.D. from Temple University.
Janet Keller, Nominee for Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
Janet Keller has been involved in politics and public policy issues at the local, state, and federal level for more than 30 years. In 1990, she founded Keller Consultants, which provides strategic advice to candidates, campaigns, and private clients in support of their political and philanthropic interests.
In 2000, Keller was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to serve for six years as a member of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board which seeks to preserve, enhance, and restore California’s water resources. During the second term of the Obama-Biden Administration, she served as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Keller also served as Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the California Partners Project. Since 2017, Keller has been an advocate for many of the survivors of Larry Nassar, including United States National Team and Olympic team members. She prepared and accompanied survivors to meetings with members of the United States Senate, hearings of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees, and other public events in support of the efforts to protect generations of athletes. Keller graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.