Rep. Deb Haaland has reportedly been chosen as President-elect Joe Biden’s interior secretary. She will be the first Native American to hold the position.
As the head of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Haaland would oversee the management of America’s lands, water, wildlife and energy resources and honor our nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations, according to the department website.
This is a big deal.
Historic appointment. A visionary Native woman in charge of federal lands. Unequivocally progressive. Green New Deal champion. Exquisitely experienced.@RepDebHaaland sister, you are going to do such a great job. I am so proud of you and the movement.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 17, 2020
News of her placement first broke via Reuters, which reported that “she would seek to usher in an expansion of renewable energy production on federal land to contribute to the fight against climate change, and undo President Donald Trump’s focus on bolstering fossil fuels output.”
5 years ago, the U.S. and nearly 200 other countries pledged to #ActOnClimate by joining the #ParisAgreement. We later became the only country to back out.
With the election of Joe Biden, we’re telling the world #WeAreStillIn. pic.twitter.com/dWnMbdiWpR
— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) December 13, 2020
Haaland currently serves New Mexico and is one of the first Native American women in Congress. As a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, she is a 35th generation New Mexican. She grew up in a military family (her father was a 30-year combat Marine) and because they moved around so much, she attended 13 different public schools. Haaland stayed put in New Mexico for her higher education and earned degrees from the University of New Mexico and UNM Law School. Over her career, she has advocated for the protection of tribal sovereignty at Standing Rock and the development of policies and commitments to earth-friendly business practices by the Laguna Development Corporation.
In a recent press call with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries and other Congressional Tri-Caucus leaders, Haaland called for equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, acknowledging how the virus has particularly ravaged Black and brown communities.
“A comprehensive plan that will serve all people is missing. We have the opportunity to correct a history of deceit by the federal government against Native American people,” she said. “Tribes need robust education on the vaccine to increase confidence, resources to make up for gaps that have existed for generations and flexibility to develop their own distribution plans. We must be steadfast in making sure every community has access to the vaccine.”
.@KamalaHarris and I are building a historic Cabinet.
A Cabinet that looks like America and taps into the best of this nation. pic.twitter.com/RiVfPB9NpJ
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 17, 2020