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January 16, 2013 07:22 AM UTC

Ken Salazar To Leave Interior Department

  • by: Colorado Pols

Widely reported overnight, as confirmed by the Washington Post:

Salazar, a former Colorado senator whose family is of Hispanic descent, has served at Interior for President Obama’s entire first term.

His exit means that Obama’s cabinet, which has already come under some fire for lacking diversity in its recent nominees, will lose a little bit more diversity – at least temporarily.

Another Latino cabinet member, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, resigned last week, and two other top women – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson – are both on their way out.

It’s not clear who will be chosen to succeed Salazar. Interior secretaries generally come from west of the Mississippi River. Former Washington governor Chris Gregoire (D), former congressman Norm Dicks (D-Wash), and former North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan (D) have all been mentioned as potential appointees, as have former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) and Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes.

We’ve often wondered about other choices Ken Salazar might have made after 2008, and how that might have affected both his own career and Colorado politics had he chosen differently. We’ve heard that Secretary Salazar was often frustrated in his position, and wasn’t able to enact many of the reforms he envisioned when he took the job. That being the case, in hindsight, would Salazar be better off if he had remained a U.S. Senator? And where does four years at Interior leave Salazar in terms of his future political ambitions?

No doubt Sen. Michael Bennet thinks it all worked out just fine, but we’re curious if you agree. And either way, it would come as a great surprise to many politicos in Colorado if we have seen the last of Salazar in public office.


13 thoughts on “Ken Salazar To Leave Interior Department

  1. Salazar claims it’s been the best cabinet post, the one he’d choose above all others, in spite of some serious frustration. The list of his accomplishments is long, in spite of criticism he’s taken.

    Whether he regrets the way it prevented him from going for Governor, a position he would have had no trouble winning, is a question only he can answer and probably won’t.

    The article mentions the fact that he and his wife are primary caregivers for a  five year old autistic grandchild. Salazar will no doubt have all kinds of opportunities right here at home and much more attractive than DQ. He’s not too old to regroup and come back for more in politics at a later date.

    Note to Obama.  Don’t even think about a white male for a replacement. In fact, don’t think about a male.  It would be very hard to believe that there aren’t any women qualified for this post.

      1. I don’t want Hickenlooper to be bumped up to a cabinet post.  I want him to go back to the private sector and return to being a beer baron which seems to be his niche in life.

        Hickenlooper should follow Ritter’s lead than it would open the door for Salazar to run for Governor in 2014.

          1. for the Fracking industry?  Money! Money! Money!  Throw a ton of money at him to step away from something that he has shown to have as much initiative and innovative thinking as the Bronco offensive coordinator on 3rd and short.

            I know I’m just wishing but as a mountain boy who is already freaked out about the snow pack this winter, it would be a big plus for our state if we had someone proven leadership skills who understood natural resources and already had extensive networking with Interior managers already in place at the national level and could work with a Democratic legislature to enact natural resource policies that he couldn’t do at the national level.

            How cool would it be if the 1st Hispanic governor in the history of the state of Colorado was the one who knew how develop statewide resource management programs that could deal directly with the problem of climate change and sustainable human development?  Or we could elect Hickenlooper again or some fucking dreg from the Republican Party who are going to drink the Kool-Ade from the Oil & Gas Industry.  Unfortunately I already know how this is going to play out.  Bummer!

    1. That’s tough to imagine, but you do bring up an interesting point. How long can Ken “vacation” before he’s not viable? Can he afford to sit out public life until 2016?

      1. A former attorney general, senator and cabinet officer has a longer shelf life than, say, a former House speaker. Heck, if Ken Gordon is still considered viable in 2014, then anyone can return from relative obscurity.

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