Biden names trade expert Celeste Drake as ‘Made in America’ director

Nancy Cook

President Joe Biden has selected Celeste Drake, a longtime trade expert from AFL-CIO, to be the first director of his initiative to steer more federal dollars to U.S. manufacturers and producers, an administration official said.

Drake will be responsible for ensuring the federal procurement process rewards U.S.-based businesses, including small companies and minority entrepreneurs. Her office will be based out of the Office of Management and Budget.

Celeste Drake

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Drake’s appointment shows the ongoing influence of labor unions with the Biden administration. They’ve helped shape policies from the American Jobs Plan to Biden’s support of forming a union at an Amazon plant.

“Big corporations and special interests have long fought for loopholes to redirect American taxpayers’ dollars to foreign companies where the products are being made,” Biden said Jan. 25, when he created the program. “The result: Tens of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars supporting foreign jobs and foreign industries.”

Most recently, Drake worked as head of government affairs for the Directors Guild of America, which has more than 18,000 members.

From 2011 to 2019, she was a trade and globalization policy specialist at AFL-CIO, working on several trade agreements and international issues. She has also served as legislative director for Democratic Representative Linda Sanchez of California and a legislative counsel for Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas.

Previously, she also taught high school economics and history, and attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned a law degree, masters in public policy and bachelor’s degree.