Carmel Martin is a lawyer and career left-of-center policy advisor. She is as of 2021 the deputy director for economic mobility on the White House Domestic Policy Council, reporting to director Susan Rice. She joined the Biden Administration after working as a senior policy advisor to President Biden’s 2020 campaign. She also worked as the assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Education in the Obama administration.
Prior to her first stint at the White House, Martin served as general counsel and deputy staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee chaired by then-U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). She also worked as a policy advisor and legal counsel to two other Democratic Senators, and was a trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. 
Martin has a long-time affiliation with the Center for American Progress (CAP), a leading left-of-center think tank. She first joined CAP when it was founded in 2003, then returned after President Barack Obama left office to serve as the Center’s vice president for policy. Martin received her law doctorate and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas. 
After graduating from law school, Martin worked as a law clerk for a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She went on to work for an education law firm, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and the offices of former Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Tom Daschle (D-SD).  She also advised Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) on drafting the No Child Left Behind Act, the signature education policy of the Bush Administration.  In 2004, Martin became a staff member for the Center for American Progress, taking the position of associate director for domestic policy. 
In 2009, President Obama appointed Martin to the position of assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the Department of Education. During her time at the White House, she worked as a senior advisor to then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  She also helped implement the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” education program. 
Martin left the Department of Education in 2013 and returned to the Center for American Progress, where she became executive vice president for policy and supervised the Center’s policy development work.  One of her main initiatives was to support the Common Core education standards, which received criticism from numerous Republican state and federal lawmakers.  In 2016, the LBJ Washington Center, a project of the University of Texas at Austin, granted Martin its Distinguished Federal Policy Alumni Award. 
In 2017, Martin stepped down from her executive position but stayed with the Center as a distinguished senior fellow. That year, she became the managing director of the Emerson Collective, a left-of-center philanthropic organization funded by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple executive Steve Jobs. She managed the Collective until 2019, when she got involved in the Democratic presidential primary leading up to the 2020 election. 
Biden Campaign and Administration
During the 2020 election season, Martin started out working as the national policy director for the campaign of former U.S. Representative Robert “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX). After O’Rourke dropped out of the race, Martin joined the Biden campaign as a senior policy advisor. Following the election, then-President-elect Biden appointed her to the White House Domestic Policy Council as deputy director for economic mobility.