As the 2018 midterm elections swiftly approach, the Democratic National Committee has selected Seema Nanda to be its new CEO.

Nanda was the chief of staff for former party head Tom Perez while he was Labor Secretary during the Obama administration. She replaces Jess O’Connell, who resigned earlier this year.

“People are hurting all across our country. And I believe that Democrats are offering the positive solutions so desperately needed right now ― solutions forged by the strength of our diversity, the rigor of our ideas and the decency of our values,” Nanda said in a statement released by the DNC.

While party officials could not confirm it definitively, Nanda is believed to be the first Indian-American woman to head the Democratic National Committee, the Huffington Post reports. “This position is the opportunity of a lifetime, for which I am incredibly honored and humbled,” said Nanda.

Perez, her former boss, was full of praise upon announcing the appointment. “I’m beyond excited that Seema is bringing her talent and brilliance to the DNC,” Perez said in a press release. “I’ve seen firsthand Seema’s exceptional ability to lead.”

A graduate of Boston College Law School and Brown University, Nanda formerly headed the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. She also worked with Perez after the 2016 election as part of the DNC’s transition team.

Most recently, Nanda has worked for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. When she begins her position at the DNC later this month, she and her 2018 election strategy will be closely scrutinized as the Democratic Party attempts to retake Congress.

Image credit: Democratic National Committee

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