Updated: December 17, 2020 06:08 PM
Created: December 17, 2020 12:29 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rep. Deb Haaland is expected to make history again. President-elect Joe Biden has picked Haaland to be the secretary of the Department of Interior.
“A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior. I’m incredibly honored to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior. As our country faces the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice, the Interior has a role and I will be a partner in addressing these challenges by protecting our public lands and moving our country towards a clean energy future," Haaland said.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Haaland would become the first Native American woman to be part of a presidential cabinet. Haaland was one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
“It’s profound to think about the history of this country’s policies to exterminate Native Americans and the resilience of our ancestors that gave me a place here today. This historic moment will not go by without the acknowledgment of the many people who have believed in me over the years and have had the confidence in me for this position. I’m forever grateful and will do everything I can to be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve,” Haaland said.
The department oversees America's land, water, wildlife, energy resources, and honors the nation's responsibility to tribal nations.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was among the numerous people congratulating Haaland.
I am so incredibly proud to know @RepDebHaaland as a colleague and as a friend.— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) December 17, 2020
I hope all New Mexicans will join me in congratulating Deb and her family and in thanking the president-elect for his vote of confidence in one of our state’s most dedicated champions.
However, the New Mexico Republican Party criticized the appointment.
“Rep. Haaland has constantly voiced her opposition to fracking on federal lands,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce.
Once Haaland vacates her seat in New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, the state's three major parties will select a candidate to run in a special election, which will likely happen in March or April.
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