Kamala Harris is staffing up with veteran Washington insiders in advance of being sworn in as the country's first woman vice president. Meet her first White House hires.

  • Kamala Harris has begun staffing up as she prepares to become the first woman vice president in US history.
  • Her first five hires, including her chief of staff and communications director, are all women.
  • Harris, a California senator since 2017 who's still a relative newcomer to Washington, is relying heavily so far on veteran Democratic operatives and former White House aides.
  • Expect more high-profile hires in Harris' office in the coming weeks and months as she continues to fill out her staff.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Kamala Harris has already announced five hires to her historic staff as she prepares to be sworn in as the first woman to serve as the vice president of the United States. 

So far, all of her aides are women. That's a big change from the makeup of previous VP offices. 

The soon-to-be former California senator is still a relative newcomer to Washington politics. She first got elected to the Senate in 2016 and most of her government experience comes as a Golden State attorney general and San Francisco's district attorney. 

Harris' first round of hires for the vice president's office includes veterans of the Clinton and Obama White Houses, a former top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and a former advisor to Harris' own 2020 presidential campaign. 

Vice presidents typically have about a dozen top aides in positions like chief of staff, communications director, and staffers who work on policy, legislative affairs, and logistics. Expect Harris to make many more hires in the weeks and months ahead. 

Here's Insider's list of Harris' White House hires so far. It will be updated periodically to reflect additions. 

Tina Flournoy, chief of staff

Harris hired Flournoy, a White House veteran and longtime Democratic insider, to be her top staffer. 

The incoming VP poached Flournoy from her job as chief of staff to ex-President Bill Clinton. Prior to going to work for Clinton in 2013, Flournoy was assistant to the president for public policy at the American Federation of Teachers. She previously served in top positions with the Democratic National Committee, Al Gore's 2000 presidential bid, and in the Clinton White House presidential personnel office. 

Harris said in a statement issued by the transition team that Flournoy's "deep experience, public policy expertise, and accomplished career in public service make her uniquely qualified for this important position."

Ashley Etienne, communications director

Harris' top communications aide knows her way around Capitol Hill. 

Etienne was communications director and senior advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before she joined the Biden campaign. She's a former White House staffer, too.

She served in the Obama administration as director of communications for the Cabinet. She was also in charge of communications on Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative, a mentoring program for boys and young men of color. Etienne also worked for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings on the House Oversight and Reform Committee. 

"Her experience working on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue and the immense respect she commands among both Members and staff will make her a powerful force in the Biden-Harris Administration," Pelosi said in a statement after Etienne's hire was announced. 

Nancy McEldowney, national security advisor

McEldowney is a foreign service veteran. She served as director of the Foreign Service Institute, where she led the foreign affairs training facility for the US government.

President George W. Bush appointed her to be the US ambassador to Bulgaria in 2008. 

McEldowney's "distinguished Foreign Service career and leadership abroad will be invaluable as we keep the American people safe and advance our country's interests around the world," Harris said in a statement announcing the appointment. 

Rohini Kosoglu, domestic policy advisor

Kosoglu was the first longtime Harris aide to clinch a job on the incoming VP's White House staff. 

Harris hired Kosoglu as her senior campaign advisor earlier this year after becoming Biden's choice for VP. Kosoglu previously served on Harris' own 2020 presidential campaign and was chief of staff in Harris' Senate office. 

Kosoglu was a health-policy adviser to Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and an aide to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat. 

Kosoglu "is not only an expert on some of the most important issues facing the American people, but also one of my closest and most trusted aides from the Senate and presidential campaign," Harris said in a statement.

 

Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson

Sanders will be the top spokesperson for incoming Harris after serving as a senior advisor on the Biden campaign. 

Sanders was press secretary to Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign and is a former CNN political commentator. She's expected to remain one of Harris' most visible staffers. 

"Thank you Madam Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris for entrusting me with this charge," Sanders wrote on Twitter when her appointment was announced. "It has been the honor of my life to work for @JoeBiden & I am elated to have the opportunity to continue to that work in the PEOPLE'S HOUSE." 

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