White House Names Celeste Drake as the First Director of Made in America

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Apr 27 2021 |
President Biden has repeatedly pledged to strengthen Buy America since he was a 2020 presidential candidate (he’s pictured above at a campaign stop in Detroit). Photo courtesy Biden for President

President Biden made an outstanding choice in selecting Drake, who the White House says will “carry out the President’s vision of a future made in all of America by all of America’s workers.”

Remember President Biden’s first week as commander-in-chief? One of the very first things Biden did was sign an executive order to strengthen Buy America.

As we noted at the time, it was a solid start. But the key, of course, would be the follow-through.

Celeste Drake. Photo courtesy Directors Guild of America

On Tuesday, the Biden administration made good on one part of that executive order by announcing that the president has selected Celeste Drake to be the first-ever Director of Made in America at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

In the new role, Drake will be tasked with shaping and implementing federal procurement and financial policy to “carry out the President’s vision of a future made in all of America by all of America’s workers,” according to the White House.

Drake comes to OMB from the Directors Guild of America, where she worked as the Executive in Charge of Government Affairs.

She also spent several years as the Trade and Globalization Policy Specialist at the AFL-CIO, advocating for trade policy that promotes “inclusive growth for working American families and the manufacturing sector.” That gig included leading efforts to “reform the labor rules in the NAFTA/USMCA” and “reform the process by which Congress oversees and approves trade agreements to protect American jobs.”

Drake is also a veteran of Capitol Hill, where she worked for Reps. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, we think the White House made a good decision in selecting Drake for the role. AAM President Scott Paul said:

President Biden made an outstanding choice by selecting Celeste Drake to be the first Director of Made in America at the Office of Management and Budget. She is an effective life-long advocate for working families, American manufacturing, and worker-centered policies. We look forward to supporting her efforts to ensure the nation’s diverse workforce benefits from federal investments, including rebuilding American infrastructure.

We aren’t the only ones offering praise, either. The Teamsters Union also put out a statement of support, with Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa calling Drake a “champion for working families.”

“We have no doubt that Ms. Drake will excel in this new position and ensure that our government is investing in our workers and communities by purchasing American-made products and services,” Hoffa added.

Drake will have an important job as the new Director of Made in America, including helping to implement many of the other priorities in Biden’s Made in America executive order.

She also will likely play a crucial role in ensuring that, if and when a major infrastructure investment package is passed by Congress, American workers and businesses will be the ones to build it.

Now it’s time to get to work.