U.S. Secretary the Interior
Ken Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, was confirmed as the 50th secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior on Jan. 20, 2009, in a unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate.
Prior to his confirmation, Salazar served as Colorado’s 35th U.S. senator, winning election in November 2004 and serving on the Finance Committee, which oversees the nation’s tax, trade, social-security, and health-care systems. He also served on the Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources, Ethics, Veterans Affairs and Aging Committees.
As a U.S. Senator, Salazar was a leader creating and implementing a vision for a renewable-energy economy that is less dependent on foreign oil. He was involved in every major bipartisan legislative effort on energy since 2005, including helping craft the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007. Salazar also tackled the challenge of providing affordable health care by fighting to broaden the Children’s Health Insurance Program and by working to improve health care for older Americans.
Salazar has been a champion for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, leading efforts to pass the 2007 Farm Bill and to create food and fuel security for America. He worked to help veterans in rural communities get better access to health care by creating the Office of Rural Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs and by pressing that agency to open new rural outreach clinics in Colorado.
He also exercised a leadership role in championing a new defense and foreign policy that restores American security and influence around the world and pressed for a change in mission in Iraq to better advance America’s national security interests. Salazar worked to strengthen our military to ensure that we are able to confront emerging threats.a