There’s an interesting article in yesterday’s Washington Post about Deputy White House Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen. Mona was featured in a previous Post article about a group of black women who work in the Obama Administration.
Mona is married to Clyde Williams, a former senior domestic policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton. They have two children.
Policy Chief Enters a New Phase
By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The corridors of the West Wing are narrow enough that the entourages of visiting Cabinet officials cause the occasional bottleneck. On a recent afternoon, Mona Sutphen, the White House deputy chief of staff for policy, ran into an eddy swirling around Kathleen Sebelius, secretary-designate of the Department of Health and Human Services, who extended her hand with a smile.
“We’ve never met,” the Kansas governor began, “but I’ve heard your name quite a bit.”
Sutphen is perhaps the least well known of the Obama administration’s senior advisers, but for years she has worked alongside the most influential members of the Democratic foreign policy establishment. As a respected foreign policy thinker in a job coordinating President Obama’s vast domestic policy agenda, she embodies the way this administration blurs the line between the two, believing that issues such as public education, regulatory reform and economic recovery no longer stop at the water’s edge.
Within an inner circle comprising many veterans of Obama’s presidential campaign, Sutphen is something of an outlier. She decided early in the election season to endorse Obama, and worked on East Asian foreign policy for the campaign — a role, as she put it during a pair of recent interviews in her West Wing office, “on the fringe” of the experiences shared by most of the president’s senior advisers.
Described by current and former colleagues as very smart, driven and matter of fact, Sutphen has previous White House experience absent from the résumés of most other senior staff. But this administration is taking office at a more desperate moment than the final years of the Clinton administration, when she worked as special assistant to then-national security adviser Sandy Berger.
Her more central role this time — occupying one of the six or so offices on the Oval Office corridor, attending a daily morning meeting with the president — makes this go-round a more challenging one for Sutphen both as a maker of public policy and as a 41-year-old mother of two young children who has tried before to escape the overtime grind of Washington’s political culture.
This young lady has quite an impressive resume.
Check out the entire article here.