Lisa Cook
Lisa Cook is sworn in during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Washington. | Bill Clark/Pool via AP
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Dr. Lisa Cook is a renowned macro-economist, professor and finance expert. She appears likely to become the first Black woman ever to serve on the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System.

One of five people nominated by President Biden to serve on the Board, Dr. Cook cleared a major hurdle this week. She and Dr. Phillip Jefferson both received praise from Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee. Dr. Jefferson, who currently serves as a vice president and dean at Davidson College in North Carolina, would also make history if confirmed, becoming the fourth Black man to serve on the Board of Governors in the Fed’s history.

In addition to doctors Cook and Jefferson, Biden also nominated Dr. Lael Brainard and Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Board. If Cook, Brainard and Raskin are all confirmed by the Senate, it will also mark the first time the majority of the Board members were women.

Black business, education and civil rights leaders call for confirmation of Biden nominees to Federal Reserve

Calls for Dr. Cook and Dr. Jefferson’s confirmations were amplified last week in a letter from national civil rights and Black economic groups. The letter, sent to Committee Chairman Brown (D-OH) and Ranking Member Toomey (R-PA) was signed by the heads of seven major organizations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Black Economic Alliance.

In the letter, leaders of the organizations said Dr. Cook and Dr. Jefferson’s confirmations “would add much needed
diversity to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.”

While the Federal Reserve has existed for nearly 110 years, the letter pointed out “only three Black people have served on the Board of Governors”.

A separate letter from the Presidents of four HBCUs also encouraged the swift confirmation of Biden’s nominees. The letter, singed by the leaders of the 1890 land grand institutions, underscored the need for the wisdom and diversity of thought each of the nominees provide.

“‘Historic’ is a term too often uttered about events and individuals that are anything but deserving of the term,” the letter reads. “Yet, this slate of nominees – led by Drs. Cook and Jefferson – represent a historic achievement.”

The University presidents went on to say they “commend President Biden for nominating individuals with deep understanding of economic policy and a passion for harnessing this nation’s promise for all Americans. We urge
the Senate to swiftly confirm all five nominees to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.”

Nominees would have powerful influence on US economic policy if confirmed.

The Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve is comprised of seven members, all appointed by the President of the United States. These Board members carry an immensely powerful role. Collectively, they oversee all Federal Reserve Banks in the nation and carry out the country’s monetary policy.

As the nation faces mounting economic challenges, Cook and Jefferson pledged to leverage their expertise to support working families. According to Reuters, both nominees made clear they view fighting inflation as the Fed’s “top job”.

Senator Brown has indicated he plans for the banking committee to vote on the nominees by February 15th. He is urging Senate Majority Leader Schumer to then swiftly hold a floor vote to confirm Cook, Jefferson and others.

Nate Morris moved to the Tulsa area in 2012 and has committed himself to helping build a more equitable and just future for everyone who calls the city home. As a teacher, advocate, community organizer...

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