February 02, 2022

Reporter Memo: Federal Reserve Governor Nominees Dr. Lisa Cook and Dr. Philip Jefferson

TO: Editors, Editorial Writers, and Reporters

FROM: Senate Banking and Housing Committee Majority Staff

RE: Federal Reserve Governor Nominees Dr. Lisa Cook and Dr. Philip Jefferson

OVERVIEW: President Biden’s Fed nominees will ensure workers and their families reap the benefits of the economic growth they create, and will fight for all the communities that have been left on their own, from Black and brown workers to rural towns to the industrial heartland.

Top lines for Dr. Cook

  • Dr. Cook’s background – from growing up in a small town in Georgia to teaching at a large state university in the industrial Midwest – means she’ll bring a valuable new perspective to the Fed.
  • She believes we need to put workers first in our economy by focusing on the Fed’s full employment mandate and lowering prices so paychecks go farther.
  • She has researched how disparities that limit the potential of diverse workers and entrepreneurs hamper innovation and limit our economic growth.
  • She understands how better access to financial services and fair lending will make our entire economy stronger.
  • As Director of the American Economic Association Summer Program, she is committed to increasing diversity in economics and building the pipeline for economists of color to contribute to institutions like the Federal Reserve System.

Top lines for Dr. Jefferson

  • Dr. Jefferson will bring a much-needed perspective to the Fed to tackle the economic challenges faced by all the Americans who’ve been left behind in our economy, and create growth that benefits everyone.
  • Dr. Jefferson understands poverty and inequality, which we see too much of in our economy and which COVID-19 crisis has made even worse.
  • He previously served as an economist at the Fed – in fact, his first job was as a researcher at the Fed. He understands monetary policy that boosts economic activity also improves job markets.


What they’re saying:

“There is no question that Dr. Cook is more than qualified to serve on the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors…She will be an important voice as the Fed pursues its goal of broadly shared full employment." 

Center for Economic Policy and Research

“Dr. Cook is a well-respected economist and has a demonstrated commitment to civil rights and fair lending.”

Leadership Conference

“Congratulations to [Dr. Cook] on her well-deserved nomination to serve as a Federal Reserve governor”

Equitable Growth

“It’s about time that we place more professionals with the lived and professional experience of Black Americans in leadership at the Federal Reserve to steer policy, practices, and regulation that will help create a more inclusive economy and proactively close the racial wealth gap. We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Dr. Cook and Dr. Jefferson.” 

David Clunie, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance 

“We applaud President Biden’s historic nomination of Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Dr. Philip Jefferson — two outstanding and experienced economists — to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. We are thrilled that President Biden is working to ensure that the leadership of the Federal Reserve has the expertise to grow an economy that works for all Americans.”

Joint Center For Political and Economic Studies

“Cook’s talents as an economic researcher and teacher make her a good nominee for the Fed, adding to diversity of perspectives about policy.” 

Glenn Hubbard, Former Chair Council of Economic Advisors under President Bush in Morning Money

“He's the kind of honorable, serious person the Federal Reserve should have.” 

Kevin Hassett, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Donald Trump in Reuters 

“A first-class scholar, and former Fed economist who is supremely well-qualified to be a governor. He will very likely receive broad bipartisan support in the Senate.”

Kevin Hassett, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Donald Trump in Morning Money

“Lisa Cook also has a strong international policy background and much experience. Phillip Jefferson brings a strong background and understanding of research on inequality, poverty, the uneven impacts across different communities of macroeconomic policies, and of crucial measurement and econometric issues.”

Larry Katz, Harvard University Economist, in Morning Money

“President Bidens’ appointment of Professor Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors is a breath of fresh air as they bring much needed diversity and with that a deeper appreciation as to how the Fed influences the daily lives of all UAW members, retirees and working Americans throughout the country.” 

Ray Curry, President, United Autoworkers of America (UAW)

“I'm very glad Dr. Lisa Cook has been nominated to the Fed…Having been on the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, Dr. Cook worked on all the key macroeconomic and monetary policy issues. She would be an indispensable member of the board.”

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist and professor at Columbia University

“It's always been really important to have diverse voices around the table, and I think these picks are notable for that reason-- not just in that they bring a different perspective, but also that future economists, future Fed governors, people who are maybe in high school now, or just getting ready to go to college, will look at this and say, that's a possible career for me. And the economics profession, in particular, has been not very diverse for quite some time.”

Betsy Duke, Former Fed Governor, in Yahoo Finance

“The nomination of two African American economists to serve on the Federal Reserve Board is a welcome recognition of the important role that Black economists must play in determining economic priorities for our nation. Given their academic preparation and professional experience, both Drs. Cook and Jefferson have the economic tools needed to foster financial stability and full employment.”

The National Economic Association, including 500+ economists

“With the significant challenges and opportunities facing our nation, we would be fortunate to have someone with Dr. Cook's breadth and depth of experience and leadership skills serving on the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors.”

Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA)

“All three of President Biden’s nominees are extremely well qualified and would bring extraordinary expertise to the work of the Fed. All three are committed to the Federal Reserve’s mandate of maximum employment and stable prices, as well as to ensuring economic growth broadly benefits the working class. Confirmation of these three extremely well-qualified nominees would also make this the most diverse Board of Governors in the 108-year history of the Federal Reserve.” 

William Samuel, Director of Government Affairs, AFL-CIO

“We applaud President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Lisa Cook, a longstanding supporter of minority depository institutions, to serve as the first Black woman and Dr. Phillip Jefferson to serve as the fourth Black man on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.”

Nicole Elam, President and CEO of the National Bankers Association 

“All of the nominees are well-positioned to lead the Fed in the coming phase of the economic recovery and create a stronger, more inclusive labor market. We encourage the Senate to take swift action and confirm these nominees.” 

Business Forward

“Dr. Lisa Cook represents the dynamic leadership our country needs at the Federal Reserve. Her exceptional background includes years of experience in public service, academia, and macroeconomics, combined with a demonstrated deep understanding of racial disparities in our economy.” 

State and Local Treasurers and Comptrollers

“With an impressive resume and a breadth of expertise, Dr. Philip Jefferson will be an excellent Federal Reserve Governor…Dr. Jefferson will bring strong policy and research experience, sound judgement, and unique perspectives to the Board.”

State and Local Treasurers and Comptrollers

“In addition to both nominees possessing the expertise and experiences to address the challenges facing our economy, Senate confirmation of Dr. Cook and Dr. Jefferson would add much needed diversity to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.” 

Black Economic Alliance; Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; NAACP;

National Bankers Association; National Fair Housing Alliance; National Urban League;

U.S. Black Chambers Inc.

“She is beyond qualified for this appointment and I know she will serve our country with integrity and a strong commitment to supporting policies that will strengthen our financial systems and build a healthy economy that will ensure all Americans can have a chance at achieving the American dream. The Spelman community stands with Dr. Cook as she moves forward in this historic nomination process.” 

Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., President Spelman College

“The Fed must be led by talented, insightful leaders – leaders who can ensure that the Fed remains independent and focused on its mandate of serving all Americans. Drs. Cook and Jefferson understand – through their lived experiences and their academic expertise – the harmful role that economic disparities continue to play in our economy. Their combination of academic and professional expertise will bring critical voices to the public square about how the Fed can implement policies that can help our economy emerge from the present global crisis better than it was before the crisis.” 

Paul Jones, Ph.D Chairman, Council of 1890 Universities;

 Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D President and CEO UNCF;  HarryL.Williams,Ph.D President and CEO TMCF 

“Her breadth of research and experience will also help ensure underserved lending institutions, like community banks and minority-owned lending institutions, can fully participate in the economy. Moreover, if confirmed, Dr. Cook would become the first Black woman to serve on the Board in its 108-year history, which would bring the Board closer to representing the rich diversity of this nation.”

A Coalition of Civil and Human Rights, Housing, Consumer, Labor and Faith Organizations