LUBBOCK, Texas — President-elect Joe Biden has begun thinking about who will be the members of his cabinet once he takes office, and among the names on the short-list is Texas Tech University Law Professor and Associate Dean of Digital Learning and Graduate Education Vickie Sutton.
“I got an email from a friend and it said, ‘good news – your name is being circulated,’” Sutton said. “It’s always nice to be on a short-list, whether you get named or not it’s nice to be recognized.”
Sutton served as Chief Counsel on Research and Innovative Technology in the Department of Transportation under President George W. Bush and Assistant Director of the White House Science Office under President George H.W. Bush.
Sutton is currently serving on Governor Greg Abbott’s task force on infectious diseases, but her main background is in environmental, biosecurity, and bioterrorism law.
“I think definitely those are issues that are high on the agenda both pandemic issues as well as climate change issues and those are two areas I have a lot of experience in and I teach and write in those areas,” said Sutton.
Sutton is also a citizen of the Lumbee Indian Tribe based in North Carolina, and said it would be an honor to be able to represent her tribe in the White House.
“I think you are of course a lot of things,” she said. “You know, you’re a US citizen or a Lumbee citizen, so there are lots of interests that you represent while you are there.”
Sutton feels that more Native American representation in the White House should be encouraged.
“I think it’s a really good idea because Native Americans have been underrepresented in the appointments process particularly in areas where Native American issues are discussed constantly, and that is in quite a number of places,” said Sutton.
But she isn’t sure when she will hear about an official nomination or if she will accept it.
“I think we’ll just have to wait and see what happens as this unfolds,” said Sutton.
Sutton is a republican having previously run for Texas’s 19th Congressional District but she says it’s not unusual that a president might choose someone from across the aisle when filling their cabinet.