White House Watch

Treasury Department Hires First-Ever ‘Counselor For Racial Equity’

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The Treasury Department announced Monday it hired its first every Counselor for Racial Equity to support President Biden’s push for economic opportunities for people of color.

Janis Bowdler, former president of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Foundation, will serve as the first “Counselor for Racial Equity,” the Treasury Department said.

“The American economy has historically not worked fairly for communities of color. The pandemic threw a spotlight on this inequity; people of color were often the first to lose their jobs and businesses.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the press release.

“Treasury must play a central role in ensuring that as our economy recovers from the pandemic, it recovers in a way that addresses the inequalities that existed long before anyone was infected with COVID-19,” Yellen added.

The Treasury Department did not define racial equity in the press release, but the department said Bowdler will coordinate “efforts to advance racial equity including engaging with diverse communities throughout the country and to identify and mitigate barriers to accessing benefits and opportunities with the department.”

Bowdler previously worked on affordable housing issues in “historically African American neighborhoods” in Ohio, according to the Treasury Department.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said Bowdler will create a “Racial Equity Advisory Committee” at the Treasury Department. Bowdler will also be tasked with improving access to the child tax credit and “capital in communities of color.”

“As Treasury’s Counselor for Racial Equity, she will engage with diverse communities throughout the country and work to identify and mitigate barriers hindering access to benefits and opportunities within the Department,” Adeyemo said.

“These will include improving access to the Child Tax Credit and understanding how Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions can transform access to capital in communities of color,” Adeyemo added.

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