WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key roles in his administration:

  • Donald R. Cravins Jr., Nominee for Under Secretary for Minority Business Development, Department of Commerce
  • David P. Pekoske, Nominee for Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security
  • Hugo F. Rodriguez Jr., Nominee for Ambassador to Nicaragua
  • Rosie Hidalgo, Nominee for Office on Violence Against Women Director, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Jonathan W. Burks, Nominee for Member, United States Institute of Peace
  • Michael K. Singh, Nominee for Member, United States Institute of Peace
  • Kathryn Wheelbarger, Nominee for Member, United States Institute of Peace

Donald R. Cravins Jr., Nominee for Undersecretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development

Donald R. Cravins, Jr. serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the National Urban League. Cravins graduated from LSU in 1994. Upon graduation, he attended the Southern University Law Center and obtained a juris doctorate in 1998. In 2004, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives and inn 2006, he was elected to the Louisiana Senate. During his tenure in the Louisiana Senate, Cravins was heavily involved in post-Hurricanes Katrina and Rita business recovery issues as the Chair of the Insurance Committee.

In January 2009, Cravins left the Louisiana Legislature to serve as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. In that role, he was instrumental in the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. In January 2013, he began serving as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana. In addition to his duties at the National Urban League, Cravins is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University. He also serves as an officer in the District of Columbia Army National Guard. He is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a member of the 100 Black Men of Prince George’s County. Cravins’ honors include being inducted into the Southern University Law School Hall of Fame in 2018 and being named a Distinguished Alumnus of LSU in 2015. He and his family reside in Maryland.

David P. Pekoske, Nominee for Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

David Pekoske was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Transportation Security Administration’s seventh administrator in August 2017.  He leads a workforce of over 60,000 employees and is responsible for security operations at nearly 440 airports throughout the United States.  While serving as TSA Administrator, Pekoske also served at the Department of Homeland Security as Acting Secretary from January 20 to February 2, 2021, and as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary from April to November 2019 and again from February to June 2021.  He was also a Commissioner on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission that developed a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against attacks of significant consequence.

Before joining TSA, Pekoske was an executive in the government services industry, where he led teams that provided counterterrorism, security and intelligence support services to government agencies. Pekoske served as the 26th Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, culminating a Coast Guard career that included extensive operational and command experience. As the Vice Commandant, Pekoske was second in command, also serving as Chief Operating Officer and Component Acquisition Executive of the Coast Guard. He is a recognized expert in crisis management, strategic planning, innovation and aviation, surface transportation and maritime security. In addition, he has been twice awarded the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal. Pekoske holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Hugo F. Rodriguez, Jr., Nominee to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Nicaragua

Hugo F. Rodriguez, Jr., a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as a Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.  He was previously Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and in 2021 assumed the role of Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the bureau.  Before that, Rodriguez served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Asunción, Paraguay and as the Embassy’s Charge d’ Affaires a.i. from 2017 to 2018.  Earlier, Rodriguez served as Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and as the Mission’s Acting Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs.  He previously served as Deputy Director of the Office of Mexican Affairs, as Division Chief for the Western Hemisphere in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Overseas Citizen Services office, and as a Watch Officer and Senior Watch Officer in the Executive Secretariat’s Operations Center.  Other overseas assignments include U.S. Embassies in Lima, Peru and Rome, Italy. 

A native of Pennsylvania, Rodriguez holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Hampden-Sydney College. The recipient of numerous State Department performance awards, Rodriguez speaks Italian and Spanish. 

Rosie Hidalgo, Nominee for the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice

Rosie Hidalgo currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor on Gender-Based Violence at the White House Gender Policy Council. She has worked in the movement to end gender-based violence for over 25 years as a public interest attorney and as a national policy advocate. Most recently, she was the Senior Director of Public Policy for Esperanza United, a national resource center with a focus on providing training, research, and policy advocacy to prevent and end domestic violence and sexual assault.  Hidalgo previously served as the Deputy Director for Policy at the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama-Biden Administration, and served on a detail to the Office of the Vice President, working with the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.  After law school, she worked as a Skadden Fellow providing direct legal services through non-profit organizations in New York and Virginia.  Hidalgo also served on the Biden Foundation’s Advisory Council for Ending Violence Against Women, and on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. 

Hidalgo received her Bachelor’s degree in Government and International Relations from Georgetown University and holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar.  She is married and has three children.

Jonathan W. Burks, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace

Jonathan W. Burks is Vice President for Global Public Policy at Walmart, where he leads the global retailer’s efforts to analyze and develop positions on pressing public policy issues. Prior to joining Walmart, he was a partner at the global consultancy the Brunswick Group where he was the co-lead for the U.S. public affairs office. Before moving to the private sector, Burks served as the Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a Policy Advisor on budget and appropriations issues to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Policy Director of the House Budget Committee, Director of Legislative Affairs at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, and Policy Advisor in the transition office of the newly created Director of National Intelligence. 

Burks was the Deputy Policy Director on the 2012 Romney for President campaign. Earlier in his career, he served for four years at the White House, working first for Vice President Cheney and then for President Bush in a variety of positions, including as the Vice President’s Staff Secretary, Associate Staff Secretary to the President, and Special Assistant to the President for Policy in the Chief of Staff’s office.

Michael K. Singh, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace

Michael K. Singh currently serves as Managing Director and Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Interim Director of the Institute’s Glazer Program on Great Power Competition and the Middle East.  Singh was Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council from 2007-2008, and a Director on the NSC staff from 2005-2007.  Earlier, he served as Special Assistant to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.  He co-chaired the Congressionally-mandated Syria Study Group, and served on the Congressional Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States. In addition, Singh co-chaired Mitt Romney’s State Department transition team in 2012, and served as Middle East advisor to the Romney campaign.  Singh also serves on the “Welcome Council” of Welcome.US, a bipartisan initiative to empower Americans to welcome refugees.  Singh has been an adjunct fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an economics instructor at Harvard College. 

Singh earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and Near Eastern studies from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  He lives in Virginia with his wife, Kellie, and their two sons.

Kathryn Wheelbarger, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace

Kathryn Wheelbarger is currently Vice President for Future Concepts at Lockheed Martin Government Affairs, where she leads a team focused on encouraging advanced technological solutions to global security challenges.  She previously served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense.  In that role, she was responsible for developing and advising the Secretary of Defense on defense policies related to the Middle East, Europe/NATO, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, and Russia and Eurasia.  For her service, she was awarded the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Defense Department’s highest civilian award.  Immediately prior to joining Lockheed Martin, she was a fellow with The Washington Institute. 

From 2009 to 2017, Wheelbarger held several senior roles on Capitol Hill to include Policy Director on the Senate Armed Services Committee for Chairman McCain (R-AZ), Deputy Staff Director on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), and Deputy Staff Director on the Energy and Commerce Committee for Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX).  Earlier in her career, she served as Counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney and Associate General Counsel and Counselor to the Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Kathryn began her career clerking on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and litigating with two nationally recognized law firms.  Raised in California, Wheelbarger  graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a BA in Political Science and Cum Laude with a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  

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