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Obama's Cabinet
Interior Secretary - Ken Salazar
12.19.08, 04:32 PM CST
15 of 18
‹‹ Education Secretary - Arne Duncan Agriculture Secretary - Tom Vilsack ››

President-Elect Barack Obama tapped Colorado first-term Senator Ken Salazar to serve as Interior Secretary. The news following the announcement has centered predominantly on the political ramifications of removing a Democratic member of the Senate into Obama’s cabinet rather than the tasks ahead for Salazar at his new post.

Salazar’s state of Colorado was formerly a Republican strong hold-but has recently turned ‘purple’ with two consecutive electoral victories of Democrats to the U.S. Senate and the state’s vote for Barack Obama over John McCain in the last Presidential Election.

Having lost a total of 13 Senate seats in elections in 2006 and 2008, Salazar’s departure from the Senate provides Republicans with an opportunity to get a seat back. Following Salazar’s leave, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, a Democrat, will choose Salazar’s replacement who will have less than two years to serve out the rest of Salazar’s six-year term which ends in 2010.

Before entering the Senate, Salazar was director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources where he wrote an amendment using lottery profits for land conservation. Salazar also served as the state’s attorney general. He is currently on the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

‹‹ Education Secretary - Arne Duncan Agriculture Secretary - Tom Vilsack ››