President Joe Biden is moving to fill more senior positions in federal agencies, including those that have a major impact on the construction industry.
The White House said on Feb. 10 that Biden would nominate Julie Su, head of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, as Deputy Secretary of the Dept. of Labor. Su had been widely mentioned as candidate for the top job at DOL, but Biden selected Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for the post.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled a vote on Feb. 11 on Walsh's nomination and is expected to approve him.
The White House also said Biden has named David Turk, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), for the No. 2 position at the Dept. of Energy.
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Biden's choice to be DOE Secretary, is awaiting Senate floor action on her nomination, having cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Feb. 3.
Before her current California job, Su, an attorney by training, had been California Labor Commissioner from 2011 through 2018.
Earlier in her career, Su was litigation director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, a civil rights organization. In 2001, she received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. The foundation said that Su “has broken new ground with litigation strategies for protecting the rights of undocumented immigrant garment workers.”
DOL includes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wage and Hour Division, which oversees the Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage standards as well as minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Turk, who joined IEA in 2016, has worked with various countries on clean energy, according to the White House. He also was deputy of the Biden transition’s energy agency review team.
During the Obama administration, Turk was DOE deputy assistant secretary for international climate and technology.
Before that he was a senior director at the White House National Security Council. He also worked at the State Dept., where he was deputy special envoy for climate change.
Turk has Capitol Hill experience, working as an aide to then-Senator Biden and also to former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D). In the House, Turk was staff director of the Oversight Committee’s national security subcommittee.