As President-elect Donald J. Trump’s administration begins to take shape, several Alabamians have become very influential behind-the-scenes of the Transition effort.
Here are four to watch:
Jeff Sessions, United States Senator and longtime Trump confidant
Sessions was the first United States senator to back Trump in the primary, and his policy positions ultimately formed the foundation of Trump’s populist platform.
Sessions will almost certainly garner a Cabinet post in the Trump administration. His name has been mentioned in conversations about Attorney General, Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security.
In the mean time, he is Vice Chairman of the Trump Transition Team and has been a fixture in Trump Tower since Election Day. In addition to his own influence in shaping the Trump administration, he also has a small but influential team of loyalists — several of which are mentioned below — who have also filled important posts in the transition effort.
Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted Tuesday that “the Sessions bloc is rising. Influential in transition.”
Rick Dearborn, Executive Director, Trump Transition Team
Dearborn has been Sen. Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff for over a decade. During the campaign, he also led Trump’s policy operation in Washington, D.C., and was the billionaire businessman’s top liaison to members of congress and key Capitol Hill staffers.
President-elect Trump recently tapped Dearborn to be the top staffer on the Transition Team, which has the monumental task of filling roughly 4,000 jobs within the Trump administration.
Dearborn’s fingerprints will be on every nook and cranny of the federal government after Inauguration Day.
Ann-Allen Welden, Trump Transition Team
Welden’s background includes stints as the scheduler for Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL6), governmental affairs coordinator for powerhouse law firm Maynard, Cooper & Gale and Deputy Director of Logistics at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
She handled logistics for the Trump campaign, and after Election Day she was tapped by Dearborn to be one of his key lieutenants in the transition effort.
Welden is on the front lines of the vetting process as requests flow into Trump Tower for executive branch appointments.
Cliff Sims, Trump Communications Advisor
Sims built Yellowhammer into an Alabama media juggernaut that reaches millions of people each month online and on the airwaves.
He took a leave of absence as Yellowhammer CEO in September to join the Trump campaign as communications advisor, and stayed on in the same role on the Transition Team. Sims will be very involved in the rollout of Cabinet officials and other high-level appointments in the coming days.