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Representative Finkenauer in contention for Biden's Labor secretary

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(Reuters) - Abby Finkenauer, one of the youngest women in Congress, is among the contenders to become Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s Labor Secretary, according to three people familiar with the selection process.

Finkenauer, 31, an Iowa congresswoman who is personally and politically close to Biden, is among at least five names being considered for the Labor Secretary post, the people familiar with deliberations told Reuters. The sources asked not to be named because they are not authorized to discuss Biden’s search process.

A spokesman for Biden’s transition declined to comment.

Finkenauer entered the U.S. House of Representatives two years ago - having just turned 30 - but lost re-election in her Republican-leaning district this November. Biden is keen to have her play a role in his new administration and she is also being considered for other posts, the sources said.

Other names being considered for Labor Secretary, whose job includes overseeing federal employment law and workers’ rights, are Boston mayor Marty Walsh, a former president of the Laborers’ Union, which represents construction workers; Andy Levin, a Democratic Michigan U.S. congressman and former trade union organizer; and California Labor Secretary Julie Su.

Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive who has made fighting for workers’ rights and against the excessive power of corporate America a centerpiece of his political career, has also been considered but an appointment of the sitting senator was not regarded as likely, according to another person familiar with the process.

Finkenauer’s grandfather, a former firefighter, introduced her to Biden in 2007. Finkenauer’s father is a former union member and pipefitter-welder. She has made workers’ issues a central part of her career, first as a member the Iowa state house and then in the U.S. Congress.

Biden campaigned for Finkenauer when she successfully unseated Republican incumbent Rod Blum in the 2018 midterm congressional elections. When Biden announced his presidential run in 2019, Finkenauer was an early supporter and campaigned for him during the Iowa caucuses.

Reporting by Tim Reid in Los Angeles and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Lincoln Feast.

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