Widely reported overnight, as confirmed by the Washington Post:
Salazar, a former Colorado senator whose family is of Hispanic descent, has served at Interior for President Obama’s entire first term.
His exit means that Obama’s cabinet, which has already come under some fire for lacking diversity in its recent nominees, will lose a little bit more diversity – at least temporarily.
Another Latino cabinet member, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, resigned last week, and two other top women – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson – are both on their way out.
It’s not clear who will be chosen to succeed Salazar. Interior secretaries generally come from west of the Mississippi River. Former Washington governor Chris Gregoire (D), former congressman Norm Dicks (D-Wash), and former North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan (D) have all been mentioned as potential appointees, as have former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) and Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes.
We’ve often wondered about other choices Ken Salazar might have made after 2008, and how that might have affected both his own career and Colorado politics had he chosen differently. We’ve heard that Secretary Salazar was often frustrated in his position, and wasn’t able to enact many of the reforms he envisioned when he took the job. That being the case, in hindsight, would Salazar be better off if he had remained a U.S. Senator? And where does four years at Interior leave Salazar in terms of his future political ambitions?
No doubt Sen. Michael Bennet thinks it all worked out just fine, but we’re curious if you agree. And either way, it would come as a great surprise to many politicos in Colorado if we have seen the last of Salazar in public office.