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The President of Dallas' Historically Black Paul Quinn College Riffs On A Democratic Party Agenda

A smiling Black man with beard and glasses sitting in an office chair. Behind him are picture frames that appear to hold news stories, and a wooden bureau with various glass objects and awards on top
Bill Zeeble
Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell sits in his college office a few weeks before the COVID shut down.

Michael Sorrell has led Paul Quinn College since 2007. Years earlier, he served in the Clinton Administration for a year and a half. Now that Democrats control both houses, he hopes they rapidly appoint judges and address the census.

With the inauguration just days away, Michael Sorrell, the president of Dallas' historically Black Paul Quinn College has a unique perspective — he spent a year and a half in the Bill Clinton White House. He says it's time for Democrats to identify their top political priorities.

Then, with control over the House and Senate, they should waste no time.

“I think the first thing you do,” Sorrell said, “is you fill every judicial seat — every single opening on a bench needs to be filled in the next two years. Just fill them all.”

President Obama couldn't fill his final Supreme Court vacancy — and many judicial seats sat open because the Senate, then controlled by Republicans, oversees the Justice Department. Beyond the judiciary, Sorrell has another priority.

“I then would completely re-do the census,” Sorrell said. “Because if there’s anybody out there who thinks this census is going to produce real numbers that we’re supposed to rely upon? C’mon. There’s no way.”

Sorrell says an accurate census affects federal budgets and political representation for years. He's not sure if Democrats will agree with all his priorities, but assumes many Republicans won't, so he urges another bit of advice.

“Stop pretending that your enemy can be your friend,” Sorrell said. “They don't want to be friends.”

Sorrell hopes the next Attorney General will aggressively prosecute those who mobbed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.