Kara Stein ’86 LAW ’91, a former legal counsel to various senators and government committees, was this week as the new commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nominated by President Barack Obama, Stein replaces the former SEC commissioner Elisse Walter ’71, who served as interim commissioner after the previous chairman Mary Schapiro she would step down last November. Schapiro’s departure marked the first major change in the Obama administration’s team of financial regulators.

SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement that Stein “will be a critical partner in our ongoing effort to protect investors and oversee the most dynamic and complex markets in the world.”

Prior to her appointment, Stein worked in positions such as legal counsel and senior policy advisor to Senator Jack Reed, and staff director of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment. Before her time in Washington D.C., Stein was an associate at a law firm and also taught as an assistant professor at the University of Dayton School of Law.

Stein and the other members of the SEC are tasked with overseeing the enforcement of federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, including the country’s stock and options exchanges.