Policy Working Groups

The focus of the Policy Working Groups will be to develop the priority policy proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration. The Policy Working Groups will focus on the following areas: Economy, Education, Energy & Environment, Health Care, Immigration, National Security, and Technology, Innovation & Government Reform.


The Economic Policy Working Group is developing policy options and initiatives to enable the President-elect to tackle both the immediate economic crisis and the long term economic goals he set during the campaign. In addition, the President-elect has directed the Transition's Economic Policy Working Group to develop a two-year economic recovery plan that will create or save 2.5 million jobs by rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools, investing in alternative energy, and providing immediate relief to middle class families.

Daniel K. Tarullo is Professor of Law at Georgetown University. He teaches and writes in the areas of banking law, international economic regulation, and economic policymaking. From 1993 to 1998 he was, successively, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy. From 1995 to 1998 he was also President Clinton’s personal representative to the G7/G8 group of industrialized nations. Prior to joining the Administration, he practiced law, served on the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and taught at Harvard Law School.

Group Members

Sara Aronchick
Sara Aviel
Lael Brainard
Brian Deese
Jason Furman
Austan Goolsbee
Madhuri Kommareddi
Lee Sachs
Ian Solomon
Josh Steiner


The Education Policy Working Group is making the necessary preparations to implement President-elect Obama's promise to provide every child a world-class education. The group consists of some of the nation's leading education experts who are advising the President-elect on fulfilling his commitment to invest in early childhood education; recruit, train, retain, and reward an army of new teachers; create school designs for the 21st century; and make higher education affordable for all, among other important education initiatives.

Linda Darling-Hammond is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University where she has launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network. Her research, teaching, and policy work focus on issues of school reform, teaching quality and educational equity. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the executive board of the National Academy of Education. She has been a leader in the standards movement, chairing both the New York State Curriculum and Assessment Council as it adopted new standards and assessments for students and the Interstate New Teachers Support and Assessment Council (INTASC) as it developed new standards for teachers. From 1994-2001, she served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a blue-ribbon panel whose 1996 report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future, was named in 2006 as one of the most influential affecting U.S. education, and Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy. She received her BA from Yale University, magna cum laude, in 1973 and her Doctorate in Urban Education from Temple University in 1978. She began her career as a public school teacher.

Group Members

Ian Bassin
Jeanne Century
Robert Gordon
Kris Gutiérrez
John Jackson
David Kirp
Goodwin Liu
Ray Mabus
Geri Palast
Steve Robinson
Bob Shireman
Jon Vaupel

Energy & Environment

The Energy and Environment Policy Working Group crafts the approaches and initiatives that will be the foundation of President-elect Obama's policies in these areas. Specifically, the group focuses on issues surrounding the transformation to a clean energy economy such as creating jobs, stimulating the economy, mitigating climate change, and eliminating our dependence on oil. The group also identifies new opportunities to restore protections for air, water, public lands and wildlife habitat.

Carol M. Browner is the longest serving Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency serving from 1993 to 2001. Prior to that, she served as Florida Secretary of the Environment. Browner is a founder and principal of The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm and of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that focuses on emerging markets. Browner serves as the chair of the National Audubon Society Board of Directors, and sits on the Board of Directors of APX, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Center for American Progress and the League of Conservation Voters.

Group Members

Joe Aldy
Shouvik Banerjee
Jason Grumet
Lukas McGowan
Dan Reicher
David Sandalow
Todd Stern
Meridith Webster
Heather Zichal

Health Care

The Health Care Policy Working Group will help prepare the incoming administration to address the urgent and long-run challenges in the health system. It will identify options and opportunities to fulfill the President-elect's commitment to make health care affordable, accessible, and high quality for all Americans.

Senator Tom Daschle is an advisor to the law firm of Alston and Bird, where he provides strategic advice on public policy issues such as climate change, energy, health care, trade, financial services, and telecommunications. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and a public speaker. In 2007, he joined with former Majority Leaders George Mitchell, Bob Dole, and Howard Baker to create the Bipartisan Policy Center, an organization dedicated to finding common ground on some of the pressing public policy challenges of our time. He is also Co-Chair of the ONE Vote ’08 Campaign, along with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to address health and poverty in the developing world in a more aggressive and successful way.

Daschle was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, serving eight years. In 1986, Daschle was elected to the U.S. Senate. Two years later he became the first Co-Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the first South Dakotan to be elected to a leadership position in the U.S. Congress. In 1994, Daschle was elected by his colleagues as their Democratic Leader. Daschle is one of the longest-serving Senate Democratic Leaders in history and the only one to serve twice as both Majority and Minority Leader.

Group Members

Lauren Aronson
Jenny Backus
Jonathan Blum
Jennifer Cannistra
Mark Childress
David Cutler
Elizabeth Engel
Dora Hughes
Jeanne Lambrew
Terrell McSweeny
Rahul Rajkumar


Our nation's immigrant heritage and its commitment to the rule of law are among its greatest strengths. But in recent years, a broken immigration system has burdened our economy and challenged our values. The Immigration Policy Working Group is working on a plan to implement the President-elect's commitments to fix the immigration system through legislative and executive actions that promote prosperity, enhance our security, strengthen families, and advance the rule of law.

T. Alexander Aleinikoff has been Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University since July 2004. He has been a member of the Georgetown faculty since 1997. Dean Aleinikoff served as General Counsel and Executive Associate Commissioner for Programs at the Immigration and Naturalization Service for several years during the Clinton Administration. From 1997 to 2004 he was a Senior Associate at the Migration Policy Institute, where he now serves on the Board of Trustees. He has written widely on immigration, refugee and citizenship law and constitutional law. Dean Aleinikoff is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Yale Law School.

Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar is Professor and Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School. His work focuses on how organizations manage complex regulatory, migration, international security, and criminal justice problems. During the Clinton Administration he served at Treasury as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Enforcement, where he worked on countering domestic and international financial crime, improving border coordination, and enhancing anti-corruption measures. He has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Asylum Access and the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation. He has testified before Congress on immigration policy and separation of powers, and was appointed to the Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Group Members

Preeta Bansal
Dennis Burke
Maria Echaveste
Tara Magner
David Martin
Esther Olavarria
Shilpa Phadke
Mark Rosenblum

National Security

The National Security Policy Working Group works closely with key experts and our agency review teams to help prepare the President-elect, Vice President-elect and senior national security appointees as they are named to make early decisions on critical national security issues.

James B. Steinberg is dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs (2006-present) and is a former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Clinton (1996-2000). His previous positions include vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution (2001-2005), director of the Policy Planning Staff (1994-1996) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994) at the U.S. Department of State. He is the author of and contributor to many books on foreign policy and national security topics, including, most recently, with Kurt Campbell, Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Power.

Dr. Susan E. Rice served most recently as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign while on leave from the Brookings Institution where she is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development Programs. Rice currently serves on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board. From 1997-2001, she was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Prior to that, Rice served in the White House at the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs and as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping. Rice was previously a management consultant at McKinsey and Company. She received her B.A. in History with Honors from Stanford University and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Group Members

Jeffrey Bader
Jeremy Bash
Antony Blinken
Gregory Craig
Ivo Daalder
Richard Danzig
Mary De Rosa
Michele Flournoy
Stephen Flynn
Michelle Gavin
Philip Gordon
Scott Gration
Frank Jannuzi
Colin Kahl
Elizabeth King
Paul Kurtz
Daniel Kurtzer
Ellen Laipson
Mark Lippert
Denis McDonough
Michael McFaul
Carlos Monje
Erin O'Connor
Peter Ogden
Joseph Paulsen
Daniel Restrepo
Bruce Riedel
Dennis Ross
Mara Rudman
Whitney Schneidman
Eric Schwartz
Sarah Sewall
Daniel Shapiro
Steven Simon
Peter Singer
Gayle Smith
Mona Sutphen
Jennifer Urizar
Toni Verstandig
Jeremy Weinstein
Matt Spence

Technology, Innovation & Government Reform

The Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Group will help prepare the incoming Administration to implement the Innovation Agenda, which includes a range of proposals to create a 21st century government that is more open and effective; leverages technology to grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country’s most pressing problems; respects the integrity of and renews our commitment to science; and catalyzes active citizenship and partnerships in shared governance with civil society institutions. The Working Group is organized into four sub-teams: (1) Innovation and Government, (2) Innovation and National Priorities, (3) Innovation and Science, and (4) Innovation and Civil Society.

Blair Levin is a Managing Director of Stifel Nicolaus and serves as the firm’s principal telecom, media and tech regulatory and strategy analyst. Prior to his work as an analyst, Mr. Levin served as Chief of Staff to Chairman Reed Hundt at the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 through 1997. Before joining the FCC, Levin was a partner in the North Carolina law firm of Parker Poe, Poe, Adams and Bernstein.

Sonal Shah heads Google.org’s global development efforts. Prior to joining Google, she was Vice President at Goldman, Sachs and Co. developing and implementing the firm’s environmental policy. She is also the co-founder of Indicorps, a U.S.-based non-profit organization offering one-year fellowships Indian-Americans to work on development projects in India. Sonal also worked at the Center for American Progress on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues and the Center for Global Development on development policy issues. Sonal worked at the Department of Treasury from 1995-2002 on various economic issues and regions of the world, including Bosnia, Kosovo, the Asian crisis and sub-Saharan Africa. During that time she also worked at the National Security Council from 1998-1999. Sonal received her BA in economics from the University of Chicago and her MA in economics from Duke University. She is on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board.

Julius Genachowski is co-founder of Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital, a special advisor at General Atlantic, and a member of various boards of directors and advisors. From 1997 to 2005, he was a senior executive at IAC/InterActiveCorp, where his roles included Chief of Business Operations, General Counsel, and a member of the Office of the Chairman. Genachowski served at the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 1997, including as Chief Counsel to the Chairman. From 1991 to 1994 he served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (ret.), and to Chief Judge Abner J. Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He worked in Congress from 1985 to 1988, for Sen. Charles E. Schumer (then a U.S. Representative), and for the joint select committe on the Iran-Contra Affair. He is a on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board.

Group Members

Howard W Buffett
David Burd
Dan Chenok
Aneesh Chopra
Jack Chorowsky
Cheryl Dorsey
Joshua Dubois
Judy Estrin
Tom Freedman
Jim Halpert
Mark Johnson
Michele Jolin
Tom Kalil
Kei Koizumi
Vivek Kundra
Don Lamb
John Leibovitz
Bruce McConnell
Andrew McLaughlin
Parry Norling
Beth Noveck
Spencer Overton
Lori Perine
Kartik Raghavan
Alec Ross
Paul Schmitz
Clifford Sloan
Steve Spinner
Marta Urquilla
Chris Warren
Daniel Weitzner
Irving Wladawsky-Berger

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