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2 South Carolinians start jobs in President Biden's new administration

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Election 2020 Joe Biden (copy)

Then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, accompanied by Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., speaks at a primary night election rally in Columbia on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. File/Matt Rourke/AP

COLUMBIA — Two young South Carolina politicos started jobs this week in President Joe Biden's new administration following Wednesday's inauguration.

Scott Harriford, a Columbia native and University of South Carolina alumnus, was sworn in Wednesday as the new liaison between the White House and the Small Business Administration, a federal agency that provides support for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Paniz Rezaeerod, a Charleston native, will be deputy director of congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is responsible for the oversight of the country's federal lands and natural resources.

Both Harriford, 27, and Rezaeerod, 28, previously worked for former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-Charleston — Harriford as a field representative and Rezaeerod as a legislative aide handling environmental issues, including Cunningham's effort to ban offshore drilling.

Cunningham said South Carolina should be proud of them for their swift rise in the federal government.

"Anyone that has ever crossed paths with these two is well aware of their enormous potential," Cunningham said. "Paniz and Scott have already given so much to our state, and they will now be representing us in the nation's highest offices. Their continued service is to our country's benefit."

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Harriford also worked for Biden's presidential campaign in South Carolina, where his landslide primary victory propelled him toward the Democratic nomination. In the 2018 election cycle, Harriford worked on the campaign of South Carolina's Democratic nominee for governor, James Smith.

Another former member of Biden's South Carolina campaign staff, spokeswoman Paige Hill, is now working as senior regional communications director in the White House press office.

Biden also recently tapped former S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., last year, to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

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