The Native American congresswoman from New Mexico has worked across the aisle and is backed by environmentalists
Occasionally presidents have a chance to make choices that change the way we view things – one of those opportunities comes in the next few days, when Joe Biden is expected to name the next secretary of the interior.
The interior department dates back to 1849 and President Zachary Taylor. Largely forgotten now (in part because he died after 16 months in office), Taylor had first come to prominence fighting in the Black Hawk war, which led to the policy of “removing” Native Americans to the far side of the Mississippi, and then as a general in the Second Seminole war, where he fought the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. Over the years its secretaries have ranged from the corrupt (Albert Fall, of Teapot Dome fame) to the remarkable (Stewart Udall, who in the 1960s became the most persuasive champion of conservation the government ever had) to the unpleasant (James Watt, Reagan’s choice, who lost his job when he explained to a Chamber of Commerce gathering that one of his agencies boasted “a black, two Jews, and a cripple”).
She’s also beloved of environmentalists – the Sunrise Movement has offered an unstinting endorsement