A transition official for President-elect Barack Obama says Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar will be named Interior Secretary later this week.
The appointment will round out Obama’s environment and energy team. He unveiled most of the team on Monday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting Obama’s upcoming announcement.
Salazar is a first-term Colorado Senator who has established a name for himself on public lands and energy resources issues. He headed the Colorado Natural Resources Department from 1990 through 1994. The Interior Department has broad oversight over the nation’s energy resources and environment. It oversees oil and gas drilling on public lands and manages the nation’s parks and wildlife refuges.
If this is true I’ll be somewhat disappointed–I was hoping AZ Rep. Raul Grijalva would get Interior.
Still, I’m sure Salazar will do a great job, though –if he accepts–we’ll have another open Senate seat on our hands. Fortunately, Colorado has a Democratic governor, so if Salazar accepts it won’t impact the size of the Democratic caucus.
As for replacements, the Lieutenant Governor of Colorado is Democrat Barbara O’Brien, but she was just elected in 2006 making it unlikely she would be tapped to move up so soon. Colorado’s Attorney General is a Republican.
CO has three incumbent members of Congress–Diana DeGette, John Salazar (brother of Ken) and Ed Perlmutter. DeGette has been office since ’97; Salazar since ’05 and Perlmutter since ’07.
CO has been trending blue, so I don’t expect to have too hard of a time holding onto it in 2010. Still, who Governor Ritter taps to replace Salazar may have a big impact on how things play out in the future.