Sheila Nix, an Oak Parker and veteran of the Obama White House, has been named a senior advisor to Sen. Kamala Harris, the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president. The appointment was made by the campaign of Joe Biden.
Nix has lived on and off in Oak Park since 2004. In an interview with Wednesday Journal, Nix said she is "very excited" to be part of the Biden-Harris team.
"You can see in the situation that we're in right now that there's a real need for leadership to solve problems around Coronavirus and the economy and doing the right thing," said Nix.
Biden, Nix thinks, will be the one to get the United States "back on the right track."
"Vice President Biden has a lot of experience. He's been doing this for a long time," said Nix. "He believes in science. He listens to experts."
No stranger to the White House, Nix served as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, as well as being Biden's campaign chief of staff during the 2012 campaign to reelect Obama and Biden. Nix also served as chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden, Biden's wife, during her time as Second Lady.
While Nix was not on the team vetting potential vice president candidates, she believes Harris is a great pick to serve in the nation's number two leadership role.
"She's amazing," said Nix. "She's bringing her energy to the campaign."
Harris joined Biden's ticket only days ago on Aug. 11, but work has already begun.
"We're just starting to get organized," said Nix, who was appointed a few weeks prior to Harris. "The rollout happened this week and it went really well."
Past clashes between Biden and Harris during the Democratic presidential primaries will not present major problems for the running mates, said Nix, because they have similar policy positions in matters such as healthcare and climate change, among others.
"They might have slightly different ways of going about it, but they share the same goals," said Nix.
During her career, Nix has worked to tackle a range of complex issues, advocating and growing programs battling poverty, preventable diseases and food insecurity – issues compounded by COVID-19, which Nix believes the Trump administration has bungled.
"They've really kind of run away from taking responsibility for fixing it and actually sometimes advocated against plans that we know would work," said Nix.
Nix called the Trump administration's response to the pandemic "irresponsible," especially the early stages when Trump likened COVID-19 to a hoax perpetuated by the Democratic Party.
"Now we have people dying and very sick because they didn't take the precautions they needed to," said Nix. "That's really not the way to govern."
Nix worked as president of philanthropy for Tusk Strategies, a political consulting firm. There she spearheaded efforts to increase voter participation through mobile means.
Voter participation has become an especially timely concern as the pandemic has caused worries over the safety of voting in person, while President Donald Trump has widely and publicly opposed mail-in ballots.
"It's really important over the next four years to really develop these options, because now we see what might happen in a pandemic and with a president who's trying to oppress traditional ways to vote," said Nix.
Nix will draw on her wealth of past working experiences, especially those spent in the White House, in her new role as senior advisor to Harris.
"It's kind of helping to anticipate what's coming down the road because I've been through it before," Nix said.
She will also help to blend Biden's and Harris's teams to work together effectively going into November.
With the VP announcement made, Harris, Biden and campaign staff have turned their attention to next week's 2020 Democratic National Convention, said Nix.
"We'll focus on the convention," said Nix. "And then implement [Harris] and her team into the work the vice president's been doing."
Harris's appointment has made the 2020 Biden presidential campaign feel "more real" to Nix.
"We have the ticket; we have the convention coming up," said Nix. "We have our game plan and we're going to run it between now and November. Hopefully we'll be successful."
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
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