Lisa Cook has been approved by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, making her the first Black woman to do so in the 108-year history of the institution. She got a narrow party-line vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the decisive vote, according to CBS News.
Republicans said that she is not fit for the position, has insufficient experience with interest rate policy, and was not committed to fighting inflation.
Cook will join the Fed at a time the central bank is trying to control inflation. “As President Biden said today, addressing inflation remains a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration, as we work to lower costs for hardworking families,” a White House official said in a statement after the Senate vote. “It is important to have a fully-staffed Federal Reserve who can take on these challenges for the American people.”
Cook has been a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State since 2005. From 2011 to 2012, she served as a staff economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers. She was also an adviser to the Biden-Harris transition team on the Fed and bank regulatory policy, according to First Post.
Cook was the first Marshall Scholar from Spelman College and earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, with fields in macroeconomics and international economics. Before earning her Ph.D., she worked as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution for Alice Rivlin, who would later become a vice chairwoman of the Fed.
Cook is also known for her academic paper on the impact of racial violence on African-American invention and innovation. Her work has focused on macroeconomics, economic history, international finance and innovation, particularly on how hate-related violence has reduced U.S. economic growth, according to The Washington Post.
She comes from a family of civil-rights activists. According to the Wall Street Journal, her uncle was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr and one of her cousins marched with King in the 1960s. Cook has also been an advocate for Black women in economics and won an award for mentoring in 2019. She is now the second of President Joe Biden’s five nominees for the Fed to win Senate confirmation