Former Virginia first lady Dorothy McAuliffe will join the State Department as special representative for global partnerships, a role focused on improving private sector relations to advance foreign policy priorities.
The State Department announced McAuliffe’s appointment in a statement Friday afternoon, which highlighted her “strong background in public-private partnerships and cross-sector engagement,” as well as her work leading “several anti-hunger programs and initiatives in her previous role as First Lady of Virginia.” The former first lady, who is married to former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, will be based out of Washington D.C. for the role, which will involve her leading a team tasked with finding ways for the State Department to collaborate with nonprofits, academia, and businesses.
McAuliffe will also work to encourage those organizations to support the Biden administration’s foreign policy objectives on issues relating to climate change, corruption, global migration, and international supply chains.
McAuliffe, who is also an attorney, was an active participant in her husband’s administration. As first lady, she played a major role in helping to secure a deal between state Democrats and Republicans on gun legislation and convinced the legislature to set up a system for increasing funding for school districts serving military families. McAuliffe openly mulled a run for Congress during her husband’s tenure, though she ultimately passed on seeking political office.
The former first lady was also active on the campaign trail during her husband’s 2021 gubernatorial run, which McAuliffe lost by two points to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The Democratic governor left office in 2018, unable to seek immediate re-election because of Virginia’s constitutional ban on back-to-back gubernatorial terms.
McAuliffe’s loss prompted immediate speculation about his post-campaign career plans, as well as chatter in Beltway media about him potentially joining the Biden administration in some capacity. That chatter, though, had yet to amount to anything until the announcement about Mrs. McAuliffe’s new job.
“I welcome Dorothy McAuliffe to @StateDept,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted Friday afternoon, adding that she would lead the Office of Global Partnerships’ “efforts to advance the @StateDept’s top policy priorities through private sector collaboration.”