Lack of Experience May Not Warrant Success, Especially in Government

President-Elect Joe Biden has been announcing his picks for several cabinet positions ever since he was projected to be the winner of the 2020 Presidential race. There are plenty of picks that he has made thus far for pivotal positions in the White House, such as Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of State, that have made sense because of the nominee’s experience. However, he has made several nominations that make me scratch my head, such as Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Secretary of Veteran Affairs. I guess loyalty surpasses experience in politics. Why can’t it be both?

My opinion with this topic is based on previously working in Human Resources. I have experience in the recruiting space, and I would not feel comfortable giving a candidate to a hiring manager that didn’t have the necessary experience that fit the job description. It is important that someone’s expertise contributes to the success of a company for all parties involved. Of course, career progression is a different animal. People wish to grow in their career and a position higher up on the food chain of a company may present new challenges, but still allows the person to use what they know and implement new policies, procedures, etc. based on that knowledge. However, being thrown into a position without any experience whatsoever can be a recipe for disaster; trust me, I’ve been there. One of the many problems that I had with the Trump Administration was that many of the people appointed to cabinet positions did not have any experience prior to being in their role. For example, Rex Tillerson worked for Exxon and became the Secretary of State. That made sense, how? Also, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has never been a teacher nor any type of educator. The best people, am I right? Not when you don’t know what the hell you are doing.

I think that Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Veteran Affairs will be the most crucial departments in the government in the next four years. Health and Human Services will play a pivotal role in getting the country back to a normal state and hopefully assist in getting us out of this hell known as COVID-19 sooner than later. Transportation should be an easy win, considering infrastructure is a simple bipartisan issue. Veteran Affairs is a department that has been in shambles for years, not providing veterans with the care they need. Who was nominated for these three positions? Let’s review.

Xavier Becerra is the nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and he has no experience whatsoever working in the health care industry. Yes, he previously worked on the Affordable Care Act, but I don’t think that makes him qualified to do the job he was nominated for. He would have been a better fit for an Attorney General pick since he is the Attorney General of California. Pete Buttigieg was nominated to be the Secretary of Transportation. According to my knowledge, Buttigieg has little experience with transportation. He was better suited for the Secretary of Veteran Affairs position or a position as a diplomat based on his previous experience in the United States Army. Lastly, Denis McDonough was nominated to be the Secretary of Veteran Affairs and he has no experience with veteran affairs, nor is he is a veteran. He worked in National Security in the Obama Administration. Wouldn’t he have been a better fit for that or something within that space instead?

Two other nominations are also confusing me. One of which is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The nominee, Neera Tanden, founded a PAC, but that doesn’t make her qualified to manage budgets accordingly. I would be surprised if she were appointed. The position in which she is being considered requires Senate approval and she has said some disparaging things about Republicans in the past. This may loom over her in confirming her, if at all. Hopefully, this will allow a second change for the Biden Administration to nominate someone qualified.

Marcia Fudge, who is a congresswoman, was nominated to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She also doesn’t have any experience in the space she may be occupying. We don’t need another Ben Carson in this position. It was painful enough seeing someone so intelligent in the medical field fail miserably in HUD. Let’s not have another round of that. Ms. Fudge has more experience in other spaces, such as agriculture or with managing budgets, and would have been better suited to lead those areas of the government.  

I understand there is a huge focus on diversity with the incoming Biden Administration and this is great. However, I think there is a way to focus on getting qualified people in these seats while also focusing on diversity. As I stated previously, these are supposed to be the subject matter experts that will help the president to make beneficial decisions for the American people and the rest of the world, considering the President of the United States is the most powerful position in the entire world (at least you hope). It does give me some relief that most of his other nominations are people that have had experience in the areas in which they will be working. Experienced professionals may have given the Biden Administration easy wins. Instead, it may be an uphill battle to get anything done, which seems like another four years of the same thing. So much for hope and change.

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