Pro-Biden policy advocacy group staffs up

The advocacy and lobbying group that serves as a policy clearinghouse to tout the Biden administration’s accomplishments is expanding its leadership team as the president tries to fend off growing calls for him to drop out of the 2024 race.

Building Back Together (BBT) announced five new hires Monday, including former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Hispanic Media Director Javier Gamboa as deputy executive director.

“From day one, Building Back Together has remained true to its core mission: to help move the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda forward. We’ve been able to do so by assembling one of the largest, most diverse coalitions supporting this administration,” BBT Executive Director Mayra Macías said.

BBT is also hiring Paydon Miller as director of strategic initiatives, Blake Goodman as communications director, Ashley Alvarez as its political director, and Andrea Lozano as digital content manager.

“Building Back Together continues to be a vital ally in educating Americans about the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda. I am excited to see Building Back Together assemble a battle-tested team that will continue sharing these wins with the American people,” said Emmy Ruiz, head of the White House’s Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, speaking in her personal capacity.

According to Macías, the job market for political operatives is tighter than usual, with the administration, presidential campaigns and other organizations thirsty for talent.

“There are a lot more political organizations than there were, you know, four, eight years ago, and we here at Building Back Together, we’ve been very intentional in hiring a diverse group of staff, given that the constituencies that we are trying to reach are Black, Latino and young people, and also want to make sure that we are bringing folks with experience to be innovative and strategic, because we know that the playbook we’ve used in the past is not the one that we need to be using this summer,” Macías said.

BBT has shifted its focus from a paid media group to a policy clearinghouse, helping allied groups hone and unify their messaging around the Biden administration’s accomplishments.

Organizing around one message is made more complex because the Democratic coalition is diverse both in demographic composition and in terms of policy interests — it’s an amalgam of groups focused on a wide range of policy priorities such as the environment, immigration, housing and civil rights.

“The piece that has been interesting to be here in this position, and for the last three years, telling folks like, ‘we need to focus on the economy,’ pulling out from polling like, ‘the most effective way to talk about the economy is through testimonials, is through finding impacted people,’” said Macías.

“And it took like two years to finally get the coalition all in agreement that the economy was and is the issue that we need to talk about.”

But the political world has shifted aggressively away from policy since President Biden’s disastrous debate performance late last month.

Still, Democratic strategists say BBT is a key resource within its policy lane, separate from the Biden-Harris campaign’s political tasks.

“The weirdest thing with the Biden-Harris — Biden-Harris’s biggest problem is that they have done so much good stuff. What I mean by that is previous administrations, right? They passed the ACA [Affordable Care Act]. That was a big signature achievement,” said Kristian Ramos, a Democratic strategist.

“Could argue that Biden has passed like four ACAs, right? He did the CHIPS act. He did infrastructure, did the IRA, which had the clean energy stuff in it, and he did the Rescue Plan. So he has done all this stuff, and it’s Building Back Together — Mayra Macías and those folks — really put together an incredible hub of information to push out there.”

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