Secretary Zinke Applauds Nomination of David Bernhardt as Deputy Secretary of the Interior

Last edited 4/28/2017

David Bernhardt with a downed moose.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump today announced the nomination of Department of the Interior veteran David Bernhardt as the Interior’s Deputy Secretary. 

"I am excited to announce the President and I have selected Dave Bernhardt to help me lead the Interior Department," said Secretary Zinke. "Bernhardt's extensive experience serving under former Interior Secretaries Norton and Kempthorne and his esteemed legal career is exactly what is needed to help streamline government and make the Interior and our public lands work for the American economy."

"Dave Bernhardt is an excellent choice to be Deputy Secretary. After I became Secretary of the Interior, Dave was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be the Solicitor, Interior's highest ranking legal officer. Dave provided wide counsel based on thoroughly understanding issues being decided. He is thoughtful and fair. The Solicitor's Office, Interior political and career staff and the Department's diverse stakeholders respected Dave's intellect, leadership and management skill. I commend President Trump and Secretary Zinke for selecting Dave to help manage a Department that has operations in all 50 states and many parts of the world," said former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne.

Bernhardt is an avid hunter and fisherman and recently served on the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has previously served as the United States Commissioner to the International Boundary Commission, U.S. and Canada.

From 2001 and 2009, he held several positions within the Department of the Interior, including serving as Solicitor. Previously he served then-Secretary Norton as a deputy solicitor, deputy chief of staff and counselor to the Secretary, and as director of congressional and legislative affairs and counselor to the Secretary. Currently, Bernhardt chairs the natural resource law practice at Brownstein, Hyatt Farber and Schreck, LLP.

A native of Rifle, Colorado, Bernhardt earned a B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado. He graduated with honors from the George Washington University National Law Center and is admitted to various state and federal court bars. He is married to Gena Bernhardt. They have two children, and reside in Arlington, Virginia.

The position of Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior is the Chief Operating Officer of the Department and Bernhardt's nomination is subject to confirmation by the United States Senate.