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Phil Schiliro Takes on Key Congressional Liason Role in Obama Administration

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Phil Schiliro will be Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, the Obama-Biden presidential transition office announced today.

The transition office also specified the precise role a previously announced aide will have: Valerie Jarrett "will serve as Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison," the office said. An Obama transition official described Jarrett's job as having "the ear of the president" and acting as "a go-between with state and local elected officials and public interest groups."

Schiliro has been working as the transition team's director of congressional relations and was previously a senior advisor to Obama's presidential campaign, where he also worked on congressional relations.

In Schiliro, Obama gets an experienced aide whose Washington career -- and connections -- stretch back decades. Before joining the Obama team, Schiliro was chief of staff to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and the House Oversight Committee and a policy director for former senator and Obama advisor Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

"These individuals will be essential members of our team as we work to bring Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen our struggling economy and make Washington work for all Americans," said President-elect Barack Obama in a statement released with the news. "I have the utmost confidence that their broad and diverse experience will serve my administration and the American people well in the challenging months."

Ron Klain's role as Vice President-elect Joe Biden's chief of staff was also formally announced today. Biden, in the release, described Klain as "a trusted advisor of mine for over 20 years."

Biographies of the incoming White House aides released by the office of transition follow:

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison

Valerie B. Jarrett became the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company on January 31, 2007. From November 1995 through January 31, 2007, she was the Executive Vice President of The Habitat Company. The Habitat Company is one of the nation's premier developers and managers of residential apartments and condominiums. Habitat has developed more than 17,000 housing units and currently manages more than 20,000 units. Before joining The Habitat Company in 1995, Ms. Jarrett served for eight years in the City of Chicago government; first as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development, then as Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and finally, as Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development. Prior to her City government service, Ms. Jarrett practiced law with two private law firms.

Ms. Jarrett currently serves as a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team and as a Director of USG Corporation, Inc., Navigant Consulting, Inc. and RREEF America II. She is Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees. She is also Vice Chairman of The University of Chicago Board of Trustees, the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee, and Metropolis 2020. She is a Director of the Local Initiative Support Corporation, The Joyce Foundation, The Metropolitan Planning Council and the Central Area Committee. She is a Trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry.

From 1995-2003, Ms. Jarrett also served as Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board. Ms. Jarrett served as Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc, from April 2004 through April 2007, and Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange Holdings, Inc., from February 2005 through April 2007. She also served as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago from January 2006 through April 2007. Ms. Jarrett served as Finance Chair for the 2004 U.S. Senatorial Campaign for Barack Obama, the first Treasurer of the Senator's PAC, the Hopefund, and served as a Senior Advisor to the Obama for America Presidential Campaign. Ms. Jarrett received a J.D. degree from The University of Michigan Law School in 1981 and an A.B. degree from Stanford University in 1978.

Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

Philip M. Schiliro is currently the Director of Congressional Relations for the transition team of President-Elect Barack Obama. Schiliro was a senior advisor to Senator Obama's presidential campaign. He has worked in the United States Congress for more than 25 years. Schiliro served as the Chief of Staff to Representative Henry Waxman and the House Oversight Committee in the House, and the Policy Director for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate.

Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to the Vice President

Ronald A. Klain has served in all three branches of the federal government. Mr. Klain previously worked for Senator Biden as Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee; during his tenure, the Committe acted on significant anti-crime legislation and two Supreme Court nominations. Mr. Klain later served as Staff Director for the Senate Democratic Leadership Committees under Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). In the executive branch, Mr. Klain served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore for four years; he also served as Chief of Staff to Attorney General Janet Reno, and Associate Counsel to President Clinton in charge of judicial selection. Mr. Klain began his legal career as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White, after graduating from the Harvard Law School magna cum laude.

Ron Klain has played a role on the debate preparation teams of every Democratic Presidential nominee since Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. In 2008, he took an unpaid leave of absence from his post as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Revolution LLC, to serve on the debate preparation teams for both Senators Obama and Biden.

Mr. Klain is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. He now lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife Monica Medina, Senior Environmental Counsel at the Pew Charitable Trusts, and their three children, Hannah, Michael and Daniel.

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 15, 2008; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Cast of Characters  
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