The Senate confirmed Kiran Ahuja as director of the Office of Personnel Management. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote for Ahuja.
“Kiran Ahuja is qualified, experienced, and dedicated public servant who we are looking forward to leading the Office of Personnel Management in its work protecting the safety of the workforce, empowering federal employees, and building a federal workforce that looks like America,” Chris Meager, a White House spokesperson, said.
Ahuja will be the first South Asian and first Asian American woman to lead OPM.
According to the New York Times, the Office of Personnel Management has gone through five directors in a short period of time. The department went through three directors during Donald Trump‘s presidency.
Ahuja, a racial justice activist, worked as chief of staff during former President Barack Obama’s presidency. She believes that the protest that took place after George Floyd died was the United States “finally coming to terms with our racist history as a country.”
“How will we work to not only acknowledge the life and the futures of the Black community, the Indigenous community, Black immigrants, Black queer, and trans people, Black women; but also to affirm it so that they are free from the daily trials of White Supremacy,” Ahuja wrote last June.
“You can’t be a true ally to Black communities until you take it upon yourself to understand our racialized history in its most intimate and heinous forms,” Ahuja wrote. “And learn, as I did, that all forms of discrimination flow from the subjugation of Black and Indigenous people.”
Republican Senator Josh Hawley believes that Ahuja’s thoughts about race in American society are divisive.
“I’m concerned that as the federal government’s H.R. director, Ms. Ahuja could use her platform to promote radical ideologies that seek to divide rather than unite the American people,” Hawley said. “She could bring critical race theory back into federal government training.”
Controversy over whether critical race theory should be taught in school is persistent. Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation banning critical race theory from classrooms.
Ahuja earned degrees from Spelman College and the University of Georgia.