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Biden announces leaders of inauguration planning committee

Biden announces leaders of inauguration planning committee
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe Biden 64 percent of Iowans say 'time for someone else' to hold Grassley's Senate seat: poll Philadelphia shooting leaves 2 dead, injures toddler Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin MORE on Monday announced members of the committee that will lead the planning process for his inauguration in January.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe U.S. and Mexico must revamp institutions supporting their joint efforts Harris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation Watch live: Harris delivers remarks on vaccination efforts MORE named Tony Allen, the president of Delaware State University, as chief executive officer of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Maju Varghese, the Biden campaign’s chief operating officer, will serve as executive director of the committee and both Erin Wilson, a top Biden campaign aide, and Yvanna Cancela, a Nevada elected representative, will work as deputy executive directors.

Allen has held leadership roles at Delaware State University, a historically Black university, since 2017 and was tapped as president of the school at the start of this year. He has also worked as a special assistant and speechwriter in Biden’s Senate office in the 1990s and is serving on the inaugural committee in his personal capacity.

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Varghese served as chief operating officer of Biden’s campaign through the primaries and general election. He also worked in the White House under the Obama administration. 

Wilson served as national political director of Biden’s campaign during the primary and general elections. Cancela is currently a Nevada state senator and was a senior adviser to the campaign in Nevada during the primary election after endorsing Biden early on in the campaign.

The inauguration planning comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that leaders will be challenged to adjust the event to address health and safety concerns. 

“I’ve known and loved the Biden family for 25 years and am deeply humbled to help organize the historic inauguration of a good and decent patriot during an unprecedented time in our country,” Allen said in a statement. “This year's inauguration will look different amid the pandemic, but we will honor the American inaugural traditions and engage Americans across the country while keeping everybody healthy and safe.”

Varghese said that the inauguration “will serve as the launching pad for the Biden-Harris Administration to get to work on day one and beat the pandemic, build back our economy better, and unify our country.”

Biden will be sworn into office on Jan. 20. Construction has already begun on the inauguration platform outside of the White House, despite President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE’s refusal to concede the election.

The committee on Monday also unveiled its website where individuals can donate to the inaugural committee and purchase T-shirts and other merchandise.