Washington (AP) — Marty Walsh remembers when the cabinet secretary came to town.

“That’s really a big deal. They give you a date and you just clear your schedule,” said Walsh, a former mayor of Boston.

He recalls that 300 people packed into the room and heard the story of Julian Castro, then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “He was speaking on behalf of President Obama and Vice President Biden, and people stuck to every word.”

Now, as Secretary of Labor, Walsh is on the other side of the equation, traversing the country on behalf of President Joe Biden’s US employment program. As the large infrastructure package went through fierce negotiations in Congress, Walsh and several other cabinet secretaries launched an ambitious travel schedule to facilitate planning and the larger Biden agenda.

Ravi Perry, Dean of Political Science at Howard University, said: “The amount of travel, the amount they traveled … really changed.”

Since early May, members of the Biden Cabinet have promoted Biden’s agenda at ambitious roadshows, making dozens of television appearances and trips nationwide.

“I don’t know if we can think of an equivalent of this kind of deployment,” said HUD Secretary of State Mercia Fudge, who visited Newark, NJ for the past few weeks. Kansas City, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma. “We are an extension of the administration. We are on the agenda of the president.”

The Cabinet’s outreach campaign is particularly impressive in the gradual emergence of countries from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although restrictions on mass gatherings have been lifted nationwide, some cabinet secretaries have pointed out that the mood of the people is not ready for large political gatherings.

“Of course, we’re not getting the crowd,” said Walsh, who is missing out on the intimacy of having lunch without social distance restrictions. “It really limits what you can do. You want to be around people.”

Much of the trip was done by Jobs Cabinet in Biden: Walsh, Fudge, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

“I wanted to get on the road from day one,” Butigeg said, saying that the presence of a cabinet secretary brings special appeal. Perhaps more than any position in the government, he said the cabinet secretary was a direct extension of the president and his policies.

“You represent the administration and the president,” said Butigeg, who visited North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. “It’s a way to let people know they’re important.”

Butigeg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, recalled, “It was a big problem for the federal regional manager, let alone the Chief Cabinet Secretary, to come to town.”

The campaign is actively coordinating from the White House. Fudge said her department is planning her travel schedule, but the White House regularly requires her to appear in a particular location, or she’s another for co-starring. Arrange to team up with your secretary. Biden unveiled an informal Jobs cabinet group in April, telling reporters that Quintet would be asked to “take special responsibility to explain the plan to the American people.”

Biden’s senior adviser, Anita Dunn, said members of the cabinet were mostly limited to long-distance relationship television interviews during the first months of the administration.

“Until very recently, everything was virtualized,” she said.

Dan described the minister as “achieved people who represent the administration and enable us to expand our reach.”

It also helps that some of the secretaries are former mayors such as Butigeg and Walsh, or former governors such as Granholm and Lymond, to find easy commonalities with local officials and stakeholders. I can.

“It’s a big advantage for the administration,” Dan said.

The logistics and costs of planning a secretary’s visit are also much less difficult than the president or vice president. According to Dan, the secretary travels a mix of government planes and commercial airlines, and the cabinet secretary has its own security details, but no secret service protection. As a result, the administration can be directly influenced by the president’s messenger with much less cost and effort.

In some cases, the secretary’s role is to gather sympathy and momentum. Others say they are trying to reassure a nervous audience in the deep Republican states, and Biden’s agenda will not leave them behind.

Granholm spoke on the phone during his visit to West Virginia, and her main goal on the trip reassures citizens of coal-mining-dependent countries that Biden’s clean energy program will not destroy their economies. Said that. Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, compared West Virginia to his home state when the automobile industry began to shrink.

“I feel that fear and tension when the state’s identity and the economy as a whole are wrapped up in a shrinking sector. I get when the community is kneeling,” she said.

Her presence in West Virginia “means that the President of the United States is deeply concerned,” Granholm said.

This approach represents a direct departure from the previous administration. Former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet Secretary shared the promise of a pre-pandemic speech, but Trump generally shared Twitter, sympathetic media interviews, and a well-known noisy rally around himself. Through, he preferred to be his own messenger and promoter.

“This is a major change in the way the president uses ministers,” Perry said. “What we are seeing here is a much more decentralized government agency. In a sense, it is a return to normal from a diplomatic point of view.”

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