Under federal law, general election candidates are permitted to begin planning their transition from candidate to president before the election is held.
Salazar will serve alongside four co-chairs: former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, and Maggie Williams, president of the Harvard University Institute of Politics. Two Clinton campaign policy advisers, Ed Meier and Ann O'Leary, will move over to the transition team, as well, and serve as co-executive directors overseeing day-to-day duties.
"We are extremely pleased that such an accomplished group of public servants has agreed to lead the transition planning for a potential Clinton-Kaine administration," Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said. "While our campaign remains focused on the task at hand of winning in November, Hillary Clinton wants to be able to get to work right away as president-elect on building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. These individuals, who bring a deep level of experience in the work of presidential transitions, will help us build a team that is ready to govern after the general election."
Transition teams have two main functions. First, they must fill thousands of jobs in the federal government that merit presidential vetting, from Cabinet secretaries and agency directors to the West Wing staff that directly aides the president. This year that list will likely expand to include a massive political undertaking all its own -- the filling of a vacant seat on the Supreme Court, because the Republican-controlled Senate has yet to act on President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia. Second, transition teams typically plot out the initial flurry of policy proposals a president will roll out in their first 100 days and the accompanying political strategy to achieve those goals.
"Once Hillary Clinton makes history by being elected as the nation's first woman president, we want to have a turnkey operation in place so she can hit the ground running right away," Salazar said. "A Clinton-Kaine administration will build on the progress we've made under President Obama, and tackle a new set of challenges both at home and abroad. This transition team will undertake the preparations necessary to ensure our next President has the resources and staff to carry out this all-important work."