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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Joins the Biden Administration

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) has joined the Biden administration.

She’ll serve as a special representative to U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on retirement and pension issues.

Townsend’s appointment was first reported by Pensions & Investments, a trade publication.

Townsend, who served as lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003, has worked for several years trying to fortify workers’ pension plans. Most recently she was executive director of Retirement for All, a grass-roots advocacy foundation to create universal retirement plans. From 2018 to 2019, she was director of Retirement Security at the Economic Policy Institute, and she has served as a research professor at Georgetown University, where she founded the Center for Retirement Initiatives.

Townsend also led the Governor’s Retirement Security Task Force for the State of Maryland in 2014 and 2015, which helped spearhead efforts to enact a state-run retirement plan for workers not covered by a retirement plan at work.

In a statement emailed this week to the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, Townsend said that her new gig working for Walsh, who was a longtime mayor of Boston before joining the Biden administration, began on Monday.

“Over the last several years, I have worked … to advance state and federal policy to create accessible, portable retirement savings programs to help the most vulnerable save for a dignified retirement,” she said in the statement. “It has been a challenge to bring this issue to the forefront. However, much progress has been made. 10 states have passed legislation to address the retirement crisis and make it easier to save. These have enabled thousands of Americans and there is more to be done.”

Townsend said she was accepting her new assignment “with great excitement.”

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