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Keisha Lance Bottoms, Former Atlanta Mayor, to Be Biden Senior Adviser

WASHINGTON — President Biden plans to appoint Keisha Lance Bottoms, the former mayor of Atlanta, to his White House staff as a senior adviser tasked with managing relations with crucial constituent groups headed for the interim campaigns, a White House official said Tuesday.

Ms. Bottoms will succeed Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and serve as the president’s ambassador to community and corporate organizations at a time when Mr. Biden struggles with low approval ratings and his party faces the loss of one or more both houses of Congress in the fall elections.

Ms. Bottoms served as mayor of Atlanta for one term and drew national attention for her handling of protests following the 2020 murder of George Floyd, which at times turned violent. She was an early supporter of Mr. Biden in the 2020 primary for the Democratic nomination, and he briefly considered her a potential vice presidential running mate. She later turned down a cabinet-level position in the administration.

Her appointment to the White House staff was: reported earlier Tuesday evening by Axiosciting that she intended to “listen more than anything” and that “it’s important that people feel their voices are reflected and their voices are heard.”

Mr. Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman, recently left the White House to enter the private sector and take up a position as a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee. Tensions between the party’s activist progressive wing and its leaders posed a challenge during his stay in the White House.

The latest moves were part of a series of staff changes midway through Mr Biden’s second year in office. In addition to Mr. Richmond, the President’s Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, and Covid Czar, Jeffrey D. Zients, recently departed, as well as several aides to Vice President Kamala Harris. Many Democrats speculate that further changes will be forthcoming, especially if the midterm elections go badly as they expected.

Ms. Bottoms was a judge and city councilor before being elected mayor in 2017, but chose not to run for a second term last year due to rising crime in Atlanta. The homicide rate there rose 58 percent in 2020, and challengers accused her of not focusing enough on crime reduction.

She gained national fame when she spoke directly with protesters after Floyd’s murder, expressing her own deep pain over his murder at the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer, while reprimanding protesters who resorted to violence and attacking them. said “go home.”

Mr Biden praised her approach. “We saw her stand tall over the summer and speak about protests and pain,” he said of her during a fundraiser last year.

In her interview with Axios, Ms. Bottoms said she felt strongly about the social justice issues raised by the Floyd case.

“Those challenges are still very new and real to me,” she said. “And I live it every day: I live it as a black woman, I live it as a mother of four, and I know where those challenges are, but I also know where the opportunities lie.”

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