Gordon to lead Biden HHS transition team

By: - November 10, 2020 3:59 pm

Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon | Casey Hull

Updated, 4:11 p.m. , 4:34 p.m., 11/10/20 with Gordon’s comments

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon is one of the volunteer leads on President-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services transition team, the transition announced Tuesday.

“This is a chance to share lessons from Michigan’s experiences fighting COVID, and to identify ways Washington can work with states to improve health care for everyone,” Gordon said in a statement to the Advance. “While I’m helping the incoming administration, my first responsibility remains leading Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services in this challenging time. Work with the transition will help make our crisis response stronger.”

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips is the other team lead. The Biden transition released a full list of agency review teams on Tuesday.

“These teams are composed of highly experienced and talented professionals with deep backgrounds in crucial policy areas across the federal government,” the transition said. “The teams have been crafted to ensure they not only reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration, but reflect the diversity of perspectives crucial for addressing America’s most urgent and complex challenges.”

Gordon deploys Obama admin. experience in tackling PFAS, Medicaid work requirements

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tapped Gordon in 2019 to lead the massive department, which has taken a lead role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Yale Law School graduate, Gordon worked for the Legal Aid Society of New York and New York public school system. He joined the President Barack Obama administration at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.

He developed programs related to maternal and infant home visiting, teen pregnancy prevention and education investment. He also oversaw the Administration for Children and Families and the Administration on Aging at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It was incredibly exciting to work in the Obama administration,” Gordon told the Advance in a May 2019 interview. “I was there from the beginning, working for a new, amazing, historic president. And also working at a time of deep crisis for the American economy … It was a very smart, committed group of people working at a difficult time, it was an honor,” Gordon said.

Several other Michiganders have places in the transition, including former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, who’s now a University of Michigan law professor. She is on the Department of Justice transition team.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.