President Biden Taps First Black Woman to Serve as His Director of Legislative Affairs

by Xara Aziz
LinkedIn/Shuwanza Goff

A veteran congressional aide has been tapped to be President Joe Biden’s new director of legislative affairs, making her the first Black woman to serve as the White House’s chief emissary to Capitol Hill.

Shuwanza Goff, 38, previously served as Biden’s main point of contact to the House at the start of his presidency in 2021 and will now succeed Louisa Terrell. The position is a highly-coveted one, in that Goff will work to strengthen connections between the president and lawmakers in Congress – both Democrats and Republicans.

Shortly after the announcement was made, Biden said in a statement that Goff is a “proven leader and trusted voice on both sides of the aisle” who was instrumental in the biggest legislative achievements from the first two years of his administration. She played a key role in COVID-19 relief, as well as contributing to a critical climate, tax and health care package. Furthermore, she aided in the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Before Goff’s appointment, she was a senior aide to Rep. Steny Hoyer, and eventually became his floor director when he served in House Democratic leadership.

“Shuwanza’s close partnership with my decades-long friends in the House and Senate, and her expertise, instincts and deep respect for the United States Congress will continue to serve our Administration and the American people well,” Biden said. 

Before taking on the new role, Goff was the White House’s deputy director of legislative affairs and House liaison. She briefly left the White House for the private sector but rejoined the administration shortly thereafter.

In her new position, one of her main responsibilities will be to safeguard Biden’s agenda while handling relations with a combative House Republican conference with massively dissimilar concerns — a test that those who know her say she is more than capable of handling.

“Shuwanza is a friend and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle know that she is a policy professional with the experience and institutional knowledge of both the legislative and executive branch,” McCarthy told The Associated Press. “The White House is lucky to have her back.”

Hoyer further stated that he was “ecstatic” over Goff’s appointment, adding that her sheer brilliance and forthright manner will make her the right fit for the role.

“She’s just an easy person to work with and she’s smart as she can be,” Hoyer said. “She doesn’t show off smart, you know what I mean? She is smart, people know she’s smart but she also has empathy and patience to listen to others’ point of view.” 

Congratulations, Shuwanza!

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