Milledgeville Native Nominated to Federal Reserve Board

Dr. Lisa DeNell Cook May Make History as First Black Woman to Serve on Fed Board
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A Milledgeville native may make history as the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board.

In January, President Joe Biden nominated Dr. Lisa DeNell Cook to the body that oversees U.S. monetary policy and the nation’s 12 federal reserve banks.

Cook is a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University.

As an academic, Cook’s research includes economic growth and development, innovation, financial institutions and markets and economic history. Her past teaching positions include time at Harvard and Stanford universities.

Appointment to the Federal Reserve Board would not be Cook’s first experience in public service. She served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama and currently is a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

In a nomination hearing earlier in February, Cook credited her call to service to the experiences of her childhood.

“My convictions are shaped by my upbringing in Milledgeville, Georgia,” she said. “It was a desegregating South, and both sides of my family were promoting nonviolent change alongside our family friend, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While my sisters Pamela and Melanie and I were integrating our schools and pools, my parents were integrating their places of work.”

The Cook family name is a familiar one in Milledgeville. The Cook building at Central State Hospital is named after Cook’s father, the Reverend Payton B. Cook. And her mother, Mary Murray Cook integrated Georgia College’s faculty corps.

Dr. Lisa D. Cook’s history-making appointment to the Federal Reserve Board is contingent on confirmation by the United States Senate.

Last week, Republicans boycotted a committee meeting, effectively stalling a vote that could have advanced Cook and four other nominees—including Fed Chairman Jerome Powell—to the full Senate.

Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are working to engage Republicans in moving the nominations forward.