Biden Nominates Native American Rep. Deb Haaland As Interior Secretary
President-elect Joe Biden, breaking the tradition of forming Whites-dominated Cabinet, nominated a Native American to serve as his Interior Secretary.
As Secretary of the Interior, Congresswoman Deb Haaland will be in charge of leading the agency governing public lands. If confirmed, the sexagenarian will become the first indigenous person to lead the department.
Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan, was nominated as Secretary of Energy.
Other key members of of his climate team are Michael Regan, EPA Administrator; Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; Administrator Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor; and Ali Zaidi, Deputy National Climate Advisor.
Haaland, who is the Representative for the First District of New Mexico in the House, is one of the first two Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress. She spent her career fighting for families, including in Tribal Nations, rural communities, and communities of color. Currently serving as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Haaland will make history as the first-ever Native American Cabinet secretary if confirmed. Prior to her election to the House, Haaland was an entrepreneur and advocated for environmentally sustainable business practices. She also served as Chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party.
Granholm was two-term Governor and Attorney General of Michigan – the first woman to hold these positions. She is the founder of the American Jobs Project, an advisor to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Program and a professor at the University of California. An An immigrant from Canada, 61 year old Granholm is a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Information Technology Research in the Interests of Society. A note released by Biden-Harris transition team says that Granholm’s leadership was instrumental in rescuing the U.S. auto industry, saving one million jobs, and preparing Detroit for a clean energy future.
Biden’s EPA Administrator nominee Michael Regan currently serves as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Regan is a subject matter expert in environmental, energy, economic, and equity issues. Regan led the negotiations that resulted in the cleanup of the Cape Fear River, negotiated and oversaw the largest coal ash cleanup in the United States, and created North Carolina’s first Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board.
Brenda Mallory currently serves as Director of Regulatory Policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center. An experienced public servant and longtime champion of environmental stewardship, she has been an environmental leader at the intersection of law and policy in the public, private, and non-profit sectors for over 30 years.
One of the most trusted and accomplished voices on climate issues, Gina McCarthy served as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and is currently the President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
A longtime advisor to President-elect Biden on climate matters, Ali Zaidi currently serves as New York Governor’s Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, and leads the state’s efforts on climate change. A Pakistani immigrant, Zaidi helped draft and implement the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.
Biden said, “This brilliant, tested, trailblazing team will be ready on day one to confront the existential threat of climate change with a unified national response rooted in science and equity”.
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