Salazar Stresses Stewardship and Service During First Day as Secretary of the Interior

Last edited 09/29/2021

Secretary Salazar talks with Headquarters employees who welcomed him to Interior at the main entrance lobby on his first day in his new position.Secretary Salazar talks with Headquarters employees who welcomed him to Interior at the main entrance lobby on his first day in his new position.

WASHINGTON, D.C. .— Welcomed by a large crowd of employees this morning when he entered the Department of the Interior headquarters a day after his Senate confirmation, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar promised to bring positive change to what he called the “Department of America.”

Secretary Salazar then joined President Obama and Vice President Biden at a formal White House swearing-in ceremony and, later in the day, met with the acting leadership of the department.

"Together, all of us in this department, in its agencies and in its bureaus are going to be part of changing the world for the better," Salazar told Interior employees. “Fundamentally, the branding of this department will change because this is the Department of America, not the Department of the West,” he said, noting that the change would be evident in what the department does in historic preservation, in parks and conservation, and in helping build the nation's clean energy economy.

Secretary Salazar then met with senior departmental career employees and acting assistant secretaries. He introduced his chief of staff, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Tom Strickland.

“This is a particularly special moment for me,” Secretary Salazar said in a written memo to all employees later in the day. He noted that on his family's ranch in the rural San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, “my parents taught me and my seven brothers and sisters the values of hard work, service and stewardship. Through four centuries in New Mexico and Colorado, my ancestors taught us that to preserve the balance that allowed us to farm and ranch, generation after generation, we had to serve as good stewards of the water, soil, and wildlife around us.”

The new Secretary complimented Interior employees for helping the Inauguration run smoothly on the Mall and on their public service.

Salazar, who previously served as Colorado's U.S. Senator, Attorney General and Director of Natural Resources, was confirmed on January 20 by a unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate to become the 50th Secretary of the Interior.

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