Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security
The Honorable Terrie L. Suit was appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to be Virginia’s first Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security in April of 2011. The office is committed to making Virginia the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation, and preparing Virginia for all manmade and natural disasters. The Department of Veterans Services, including the Virginia War Memorial, reports through this secretariat along with the Virginia Military Advisory Council, The Virginia Commission on Military and National Security Facilities, and all Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) preparation or response initiatives of the Governor’s. Suit works with federal, state, and local officials, as well as the private sector, to develop a seamless, coordinated all hazard homeland security and preparedness strategy and implementation plan. She serves as Virginia's Homeland Security Advisor, serves as the direct liaison between the Governor and Virginia’s first responders on matters of preparedness, prevention, response and recovery and serves as the State’s point of contact to the federal Department of Homeland Security. Suit chairs the Secure Commonwealth Panel.
Suit served nearly a decade representing the citizens of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates prior to her service with the Governor. During her time in office she chaired both the General Laws Committee and the Virginia Housing Commission. She also served on the Commerce and Labor, Counties Cities and Towns, Education, Privileges and Elections, and the Agriculture Committees. Then Delegate Suit's assignments dealt with a wide range of business issues as well as concentrations in housing, preparedness, base realignment and closure (BRAC) activities, and military relations.
Immediately prior to joining Governor McDonnell's Administration Suit worked on business development and as a Government Affairs Director at the law firm of Williams Mullen.
Suit has been an active community leader. She has served on the executive committee of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber's Lead Hampton Roads Board of Trustees, the Virginia Beach Contemporary Art Center Board, the Old Dominion University's Alumni Association Board and is currently a member of the Navy League of the United States.
She has received numerous awards including one of Virginia Lawyers Weekly 2010 “Influential Women of Virginia”, the Hampton Roads Women in Business Honoree Award in 2009, the Hampton Roads Outstanding Professional Women in Public Service Award in 2005, the YWCA's Women of Distinction Award in 2004, The Leadership Hampton Roads “Julian Hirst” Leadership Award in 2003 and the Virginia Women's Attorneys Association 2002 Advocacy Award of Excellence.
Suit received a national appointment, by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in concurrence with the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, in December 2010 to a national advisory committee regarding classified security clearance and information sharing. Suit now serves as vice chair representing state, tribal, local and private sector members of the EO 13549 STLPS-PAC.
Suit grew up the daughter of a career US Army officer and continued her affiliation with the military during her 23 years as a Navy wife. Her husband, Tom, retired from the US Navy in 2007 after a combined US Marine Corps and US Navy 27 year career. Tom continues his service to the military in his civilian job today. Suit obtained her associates degree from Tidewater Community College and graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in political science. The Suits reside in Stafford County, Virginia.