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Birmingham’s Kamau Marshall takes top U.S. Trade post

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Kamau Marshall is now the top deputy assistant for media and public affairs at the USTR (PROVIDED PHOTO)

By Stacy M. Brown

National Newspaper Publishers Association

Kamau Marshall, President Joe Biden’s former chief spokesman who helped guide the 2020 presidential campaign, has taken a top communications job at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Marshall, who lived in Midfield, Fairfield, and Ensley, is now the top deputy assistant for media and public affairs at the USTR, which is led by Ambassador Katherine Tai.

Marshall attended Midfield Elementary School, then Rutledge and Arrington Middle schools in Birmingham. His oldest brother graduated from Wenonah High School, but the family moved to Georgia before Kamau reached that level.

“I loved my time in Birmingham; it played a critical role in my life,” he told AL.com. “It’s part of my foundation, especially for a person who previously lived up north—providing a solid sense of community and southern living. Southern manners can take you far.”

“It’s exciting to serve this president and vice president at this time,” added Marshall. “There’s a strong focus on economics and trade—things a lot of people don’t think about regarding how they relate to their day-to-day lives. Economics and trade are how the world goes.”

With extensive experience in politics and communications, Marshall served as a speechwriter and communications advisor for the Department of Agriculture during former President Barack Obama’s administration.

He also worked with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he was a team member that helped to win back the U.S. House in 2018.

It marked the first time in 12 years that Democrats controlled the House.

Marshall also earned accolades for his work with Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), and late Democratic Reps. John Lewis and Elijah Cummings.

Previously, Marshall, 34, was the spokesperson and senior advisor for outreach and communications to the CEO and Co-Chairs for the 59th Presidential Inaugural Committee and was the Director of Strategic Communications for the 2020 Biden presidential campaign.

“People are always shocked when they hear I’m from Birmingham,” he said.

Marshall was in fourth grade when his family, which includes three brothers, moved from Pittsburgh to Birmingham. “They’re not that far apart culturally,” Marshall told AL.com. “Both are blue-collar cities with strong Black communities; both are steel mill towns.

“I was very excited as a young child moving, mainly due to the civil rights aspects and its history,” he added. “Yes, I was that child—very excited about moving to Birmingham.”

Kamau is not a total stranger to trade. He served in the Obama-Biden Administration as the Communications Advisor and Speechwriter at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was a special assistant to the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.

Marshall still has relatives in Alabama—in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville.

“It’s really like we never left,” he said.

AL.com contributed to this post