WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced six new Biden-Harris Administration appointees who will work with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm to carry out the climate and energy objectives in President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. They will work with colleagues throughout the Department to help reach the President’s climate goals of 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050—critical for the environment and U.S. national and economic security. The Department also announced today that two current appointees have been promoted to new roles in the Department. DOE appointees continue to be a historically diverse team and, with these appointments, are comprised of 57% women, 56% people of color, and 24% identifying as LGBTQ+.
“We are thrilled to welcome this new cohort of appointees to a team that is laser-focused on seizing the historic opportunities presented by President Biden’s clean energy laws,” said DOE Chief of Staff Christopher Davis. “Their infusion of energy, experience, and knowledge will be an asset as we continue to get more affordable, clean energy on the grid to power American homes, vehicles, and businesses.”
New appointees are listed below:
Rafael Cestero, Special Assistant for Advance, Office of Scheduling and Advance
Cestero previously served as Confidential Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Education. He has several years of experience supporting high-level executives. Cestero attended American University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs.
Rebecca Kasper, Chief of Staff, Loan Programs Office
Kasper most recently served as the Special Assistant to the President for Climate and Science Personnel in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. Prior to that, she served in the Biden-Harris administration as an Advisor in the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Kasper served in finance roles for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Biden for President and previously worked for U.S. Senators Ed Markey, Jon Tester, and Kyrsten Sinema. She is from Richmond, Virginia, and is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South.
Lila Nojima, Attorney-Adviser, Office of the General Counsel
Nojima was most recently an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. She was previously a law clerk to Judge Karin J. Immergut of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and a Presidential Management Fellow at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She earned a B.A. in history and economics from Cornell University, an M.Phil. in comparative social policy from the University of Oxford, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Andrea Piccardo, Special Assistant to the White House Liaison, Office of the Secretary
Piccardo was most recently legislative assistant to the Chief Operations Officer in the Office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Piccardo holds an M.A. in global studies with a focus on cybersecurity and technology policy and a B.A. in international relations and Asian studies from Florida International University.
Usha Sahay, Chief Speechwriter, Office of Public Affairs
Sahay was previously speechwriter for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the U.S. Department of Defense. Prior to her government service, Sahay held editing roles at a variety of media outlets, working as a senior editor at Politico Magazine, managing editor at War on the Rocks, a homepage editor at The Wall Street Journal, and a news editor at HuffPost. Sahay also created, wrote, and hosted “A Most Terrible Weapon,” a historical podcast about the first years of the nuclear age. She began her career at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and its sister organization, Council for a Livable World.
Raylene Yung, Chief of Staff, Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations
Yung was most recently the Executive Director of the Technology Modernization Fund and a Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the U.S. General Services Administration, where she managed more than $1 billion in innovative investment funding to enable federal agencies to better serve the American public. Previously, Yung served as the co-founder and CEO of the U.S. Digital Response, a nonprofit initiative which has provided critical technical support to hundreds of state and local government partners. In the private sector, she served in a variety of executive leadership roles in engineering and product development. Originally from California, Yung holds a B.S. and a M.S. in computer science from Stanford University.
Current appointees taking on new roles are listed below:
Julius Goldberg-Lewis, Chief of Staff, Office of Technology Transitions
Goldberg-Lewis was previously Special Advisor in DOE’s Office of the Undersecretary of Infrastructure after serving as Deputy White House Liaison. Previously, he served as the Outreach Manager for the New York City Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit’s Tenant Support Unit, working to connect New Yorkers to vital programs and their government. He also worked as the Expansion States Organizing Director for the Biden-Harris campaign. He received a B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Frances Swanson, Special Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary for Infrastructure
Swanson was most recently Special Advisor in DOE’s Office of International Affairs after serving as Special Assistant in that office and to the Chief of Staff. Swanson was previously the Director of Rapid Response at the Florida Democratic Party. Swanson was previously a Solar Justice Research Fellow at MPower Oregon, where she focused on identifying hurdles and solutions to adopting more solar installations on affordable housing buildings. A graduate of Lewis & Clark College, she majored in Environmental Studies with a concentration on the politics of greenhouse gas emission reduction among G20 nations.
Click here for the full list of Biden-Harris Administration appointees at DOE.