BHS Graduate Neera Tanden is Biden’s Choice for OMB Director

Neera Tanden – Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

A 1988 Bedford High School graduate whose career has taken her to the innermost circles of national Democratic politics for almost 30 years is President-Elect Joe Biden’s choice for director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Neera Tanden, who in public remarks over the years has cited her Bedford years as foundational, has been director of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress since 2011. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Tanden, 50, grew up in Bedford; her parents were immigrants from India. She has come home twice for speaking events: she was the BHS graduation keynote speaker in 2010 and presented the annual “Spirit of Democracy” service at First Parish on Bedford Common in the spring of 2018.

At that gathering, Tanden declared, “I would not have made it to UCLA, where I met my husband, or Yale [Law School], or the White House if it weren’t for this community. That is why I am so honored to be back.”

She related how a subsidized apartment at Bedford Village was a literal safety net when her single-parent family lost their home, and how other government programs helped them survive until they got back on their feet.

Tanden traces her involvement in national political campaigns to that of former Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988 when she was beginning her collegiate years.

Called by one source as a “longtime confidante of the Clinton political family,” Tanden began her career as an associate director for domestic policy for former President Bill Clinton’s White House and senior policy adviser to First Lady Hilary Clinton, ultimately becoming part of her brain trust.

Later she was the legislative director in Sen. Clinton’s office and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign in New York. Tanden also served as policy director for Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign in 2008, where she directed all policy work and oversaw the debate preparation process for the senator.

Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals. She served as senior adviser for health reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, developing policies and working with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

She joined the Center for American Progress before the 2008 Clinton campaign and most recently was the chief operating officer before succeeding founder John Podesta as president.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at, or 781-983-1763
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