USET Endorses University of New Mexico Law School Dean Kevin K. Washburn to become next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior
8/10/2012 2:52:00 PM
For Immediate Release: August 10, 2012
For additional information: Brandon Stephens, Development Director (615) 467-1560 (Office), (615) 872-7417 (Fax) bstephens[at]usetinc.org
(Nashville, TN) - - United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) is endorsing Dean of the University of New Mexico Law School Kevin K. Washburn to be confirmed as the next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior. Kevin Washburn, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, has worked as an attorney in the Indian Resources Section of the U.S. Justice Department, prosecuted violent criminals as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Mexico, served as general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission and taught law at Harvard University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona. Washburn is currently serving as Dean at the University of New Mexico School of Law where he teaches courses in criminal and gaming law. He serves on numerous state boards, chairing the Judicial Selection Commission and the Judicial Compensation Commission for the state of New Mexico and has direct experience in law enforcement and gaming.
Earlier this month President Barack Obama made the nomination, which is being supported by a number of Native American organizations and by U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “Kevin Washburn has a keen understanding of the many issues that affect Indian Country,” Salazar said. “His strong professional and academic experience will be a key asset to the Department as we continue to strengthen the integrity of the government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes and empower Native American and Alaska Native communities. He will be an excellent addition to our team.”
USET is supporting Washburn’s nomination and noting that he is a strong leader that will understand and respect our Nations’ rights, sovereignty, and sacred trust issues, while serving the United States with honor and integrity. USET President Brian Patterson stated support for Washburn in a letter to President Barack Obama and to members of the Senate. “The nomination of Mr. Washburn to become our next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior is a beacon of light for opportunity in Indian Country. This nomination and potential confirmation represents optimism that we will continue to enjoy success and meet our challenges in a superlative manner,” says Patterson on behalf of USET, which membership include 26 Federally recognized Tribes from Maine to Texas. (See full letter to President Barack Obama and Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the USET website http://www.usetinc.org).
In order for Washburn to assume the role of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Congress will confirm his nomination. The next session of Congress is September 10, 2012.