In a bid to bring together moderate and left-leaning Democrats behind former Vice President Joe Biden in his run for the presidency, Bernie Sanders who dropped out of the race, and Biden recently formed several Unity Task Forces.
The UTFs include several Indian-Americans who tend to range along the ideological spectrum from moderate to left-leaning.
On March 13, 2020, Biden for President and Friends of Bernie Sanders revealed the names of those recruited for the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces.
In a statement, Biden said issues ranging from health care to the justice system and a fair economy, needed a change in the White House and a united Democratic Party.
“In the midst of the unprecedented economic and pandemic crises we face, the Democratic Party must think big, act boldly, and fight to change the direction of this country,” Sanders said. “To create an agenda that the working class of this country desperately needs, and moves us toward a more just society, we must solicit the best ideas.
Biden and Sanders also appointed Analilia Mejia of Friends of Bernie Sanders and Carmel Martin of Biden for President as representatives of the respective campaigns to coordinate and support the work of the Task Forces which will meet in advance of the Democratic National Convention to make recommendations to the DNC Platform Committee and to Vice President Biden directly.
The Indian-Americans who are among the co-chairs of the various Task Forces are former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Chiraag Bains and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, along with former Secretary of State John Kerry, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Karen Bass, Marcia Fudge, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Bobby Scott. as well as Dr. Heather Gautney, Marielena Hincapié, and Sara Nelson.
The Climate Change Task Force includes Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of Sunrise Movement which is pushing for the Green New Deal. She tweeted on May 27 that two meetings of the group had already taken place since it was announced \May 13.
The Criminal Justice Task Force, co-chaired by Bains, the director of legal strategies at Demos.org, and formerly in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General. He prosecuted hate crimes and police abuse while at the Justice Department, his Twitter page shows.
The Economy Task Force includes Sonal Shah, an economist who was the National Policy Director for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign before he quit and rallied behind Biden. “Honored to be serving on the Unity Task Force. Look forward to winning in Nov!” Shah tweeted.
Rep. Jayapal and former Surgeon General Murthy are co-chairs of the Health Care Unity Task Force. Jayapal has been leading the Medicare For All charge on Capitol Hill.
Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces
Rep. Kathy Castor
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Co-chair
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
Rep. Donald McEachin
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Co-chair
Criminal Justice Reform
TN State Senator Raumesh Akbari
Chiraag Bains, Co-Chair
SC State Rep. Justin Bamberg
Former Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta
Former Attorney General Eric Holder
Rep. Bobby Scott, Co-chair
County Supervisor Stacey Walker
Rep. Karen Bass, Co-chair
Dr. Jared Bernstein
Dr. Darrick Hamilton
Dr. Ben Harris
Sara Nelson, Co-chair
Professor Alejandro Adler
Rep. Marcia Fudge, Co-chair
Lily Eskelsen Garcia
Dr. Heather Gautney, Co-chair
Professor Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Dr. Don Berwick
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed
Professor Sherry Glied
Mary Kay Henry
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Co-chair
Rep. Robin Kelly
Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Co-chair
Rep. Veronica Escobar
Marielena Hincapié, Co-chair
NV Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Co-chair