INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local judge is hoping to join a growing list of Hoosiers hired by President Donald Trump.
Marion Superior Judge Bill Nelson said he flew to Washington, D.C., over the summer and interviewed with White House officials for a job that would make him one of the nation’s top drug policy makers.
The judge would not name his sources, but said he’d heard “through the political grapevine” that he’s still in the running for the position, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“I’m very passionate about the subject,” Nelson said. “I did lose a son to an opiate overdose.”
Nelson said his son, Brian, became addicted to painkillers after a surgery and died of an overdose in 2009. He said one of his goals is to change the negative stigma connected to drug addicts.
“It’s a disease that’s preventable,” Nelson said.
He also wants to crack down on pharmaceutical companies and pain doctors and give addicts a path to affordable treatment.
“We’re not going to jail our way or arrest our way out of this problem,” Nelson said. “It’s going to take treatment, prevention and education.”
National Director of Intelligence Dan Coats, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, USDA Undersecretary Ted McKinney and Vice President Mike Pence are all on the list of people who President Trump has pulled from Indiana to D.C.
President Trump announced this week that he’s nominating a former Eli Lilly executive, Alex Azar, to join his team. He also considered Anderson University President John Pistole for FBI Director.
University of Indianapolis political science professor Laura Wilson said the streak of Hoosiers being considered or hired by the White House is “exciting for our state.”
“I imagine when Mike Pence is looking at positions that need to be filled for President Trump, he comes back to his Hoosier state and he looks at leaders within our own state,” Wilson said.
Nelson, who applied for the job in December, said Pence is an acquaintance but the two aren’t friends.
The White House initially tapped Rep. Tom Marino for the drug czar job but he withdrew last month.