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Ron Klain is set to become White House chief of staff. Photo: Deseret News

A long time aide to US President-elect Joe Biden, Ron Klain is set to become White House chief of staff, marking Biden's first appointment.

From 2009-2011, Klain was Biden’s chief of staff under former President Barack Obama’s administration and previously served as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore during the Bill Clinton administration.

He also oversaw the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola epidemic as White House Ebola response coordinator, also known as Ebola czar, in late 2014 and early 2015.

Klain joined Biden’s presidential campaign this year as a senior advisor. Known as a centrist Democrat, Klain managed to receive cautious approval from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Klain said during TV interviews that the Democratic Party is different from what it was 7-8 years ago, evolving more progressive and liberal than ever before.

Early Years, Education and Political Work

Ronald A. Klein was born on August 8, 1961, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to dad Stanley, a building contractor, and mom Sarann, a travel agent, as reported by Biography.

His interest in politics sparked by an early meeting with Robert Kennedy, Klain interned for Colorado Senator Floyd Haskell at age 15 and was voted president of the North Central High School graduating class of 1979. He went on to work for Senators Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts) and Birch Bayh (Indiana) while majoring in government at Georgetown University, becoming the first member of his family to finish college when he graduated summa cum laude in 1983.

After managing Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey's 1984 Senate campaign, Klain entered Harvard Law School. He won the Sears Prize for the top grade-point average in 1985 and served as editor of the Harvard Law Review, before earning his J.D. in 1987.

Early Government Career

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President-Elect Joe Biden selects Ron Klain as his White House Chief of Staff. Photo: Wall Street Journal

A fast-rising star in the Beltway, Klain clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the 1987-88 term and assisted with Delaware Senator Biden's run for president in 1988. He then advised Biden as chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1989 to 1992, a period marked by the controversial Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas in 1991.

Clinton-Gore administration

Joined the campaign in 1992, Klain took part both in Clinton’s presidential campaigns and his judicial nominations. Three years after he became Gore’s chief of staff, AA cites.

He was replaced by Gore campaign chairman Tony Coelho in 1999. A year after he returned to the campaign, which named him general counsel of Gore’s Recount Committee.

Obama-Biden administration

In 2008, Klain has been chosen as chief of staff to then-Vice President Biden. He served as counsel to the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary and also previously assisted Biden’s speechwriting team during the 1988 presidential campaign.

After appointed as Ebola response coordinator in 2014, he received criticism for not having expertise in Ebola or public health area. His term concluded in 2015.

Klain is executive vice president and general counsel at the investment firm Revolution LLC since leaving the Obama administration.

Biden 2020 Campaign and Chief of Staff

Klain returned to familiar ground as a top Biden aide for the 2020 presidential campaign. Along with fulfilling his regular role of debate coach, he emerged as a leading critic of President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

After Biden was named the election's winner by most major media outlets on November 7, 2020 – a result contested by Trump's legal team – the president-elect tapped Klain for the role of chief of staff on November 11.

Corporate Law and Board Memberships

Before and after his time with the Gore campaign team, Klain served as a partner at the Washington, D.C., office of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he lobbied for major clients like lender Sallie Mae and pharmaceutical company ImClone.

Klain then forged a longtime partnership with AOL founder Steve Case, signing on as executive vice president and general counsel for Case's investment firm Revolution LLC in 2005. Additionally, he was named president of Case's holding company in 2011.

After leaving the Obama administration, Klain became an external advisor to the Skoll Global Threats Fund and chair of the advisory board for investment firm Higher Ground Labs. He has also served on the boards of the American Progress Action Fund, the American Constitution Society and Third Way, and as an adjunct professor at Harvard Law and Georgetown.

Personal Life

Klain is married to lawyer and environmentalist Monica Medina, founder of the newsletter Our Daily Planet. They have three children: Hannah, Michael and Daniel.

For more information about people who are on Biden's team, please check out our KnowInsider!

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