DSU’s Dr. Allen to head Presidential Inauguration Committee

DOVER — On Monday morning, Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen was named to lead the four-member Presidential Inauguration Committee designed to organize activities connected to the swearing-in ceremonies Jan. 20 in Washington.

Dr. Tony Allen

Dr. Allen was named by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to serve as the committee’s chief executive officer, according to a statement from DSU. His appointment is of a personal nature and not connected in any way to his duties as DSU’s president, the university noted.

According to the announcement, Dr. Allen and the president-elect and his family have known each other for 25 years. For four years in the late 1990s, Dr. Allen served as a special assistant and speechwriter for then-U.S. Sen. Biden.

Dr. Allen said he was deeply humbled to be the lead organizer of the historic inauguration “of a good and decent patriot” during an unprecedented time in the country’s history, according to DSU’s announcement.

“As the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden alongside Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to be elected Vice President of the United States, will work hard for all Americans and lead us towards our nation’s highest calling — ‘a more perfect union,’” Dr. Allen said in a statement.

“This year’s inauguration will look different amid the pandemic, but we will honor the American inaugural traditions and engage Americans across the country while keeping everybody healthy and safe.”

DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said Dr. Allen was traveling Monday and not available for an interview.

The move was applauded by U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., who served as the Biden-Harris campaign’s national co-chair and worked on the vice presidential selection committee.

“Dr. Tony Allen is a truly remarkable leader who has already contributed immeasurably to the President-Elect’s campaign and transition work,” Rep. Blunt Rochester said in a statement.

“Dr. Allen’s long history with the President-Elect and his own professional experience positions him well to lead an inauguration that both respects the history and tradition of previous ceremonies and protects the health and safety of the American people in the midst of a pandemic.

“Just as he did in his support of the Democratic Convention, Tony will bring creativity and innovation to this event, which will reflect the historic nature of a Biden-Harris Administration,” she added.

Said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.: “I have known Tony for 25 years, and he is a terrific choice to help bring Delaware to D.C. and to bring the excitement of the Biden-Harris ticket to the American people through the inauguration.

“This will be a difficult inauguration to pull off as we confront the realities of the pandemic. Fortunately, as Tony’s strong leadership at DSU has already shown, he can both innovate in tough times and deliver real results. He’s a great choice to lead this important committee.”

Monday’s announcement involved the latest Delawarean set to play a role in President-elect Biden’s campaign and transition efforts.

According to spokesman Brendan Mackie, Sen. Coons endorsed Mr. Biden immediately after he announced his candidacy and “was a key Biden surrogate during the length of the campaign, and he worked hard after hours, doing countless on-air interviews, spin room interviews, and campaigning on the ground in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Nevada for the president-elect.”

Ted Kaufman, who briefly was appointed senator after Mr. Biden became vice president in 2008, is directing the transition, The Associated Press reported Nov. 7.

Others named to the PIC included:
• Executive Director Maju Varghese, the chief operating officer and senior adviser on the Biden-Harris campaign from the primaries through the general election
• Deputy Executive Director Erin Wilson, the Biden-Harris campaign’s national political director throughout the primary and general elections.
• Nevada State Sen. Yvanna Cancela, one of President-elect Biden’s earliest elected supporters, endorsing him the day he announced his campaign.

The inaugural committee works in coordination with Congress’ planning group around arrangements for the Capitol ceremony and organizes inaugural balls and other events surrounding the swearing-in, according to the AP. The format of those events is up in the air amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has surged across the country.

In a statement Monday, the inaugural committee said it will work on “prioritizing keeping people safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19 while engaging all Americans” in the festivities.

For more information, visit bideninaugural.org. Information is also available on Instagram and Twitter under the handle @inauguration46.