March 2, 2021

Last week, Senator Mark Kelly got the chance to hear directly from Deb Haaland, President Biden’s choice to lead the Department of the Interior. Her confirmation hearing, before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, provided a wonderful opportunity for all Americans to learn more about this remarkable woman, who is supremely qualified to steward our nation’s public lands.

Haaland was born in Winslow, Arizona and grew up in a military family: her father was a 30-year combat Marine who was awarded the Silver Star medal for saving six lives in Vietnam. Her mother was a Navy veteran. Like most military families, Haaland moved frequently and attended 13 public schools across the country before her family settled in Albuquerque, near her traditional homeland.

Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has Jemez Pueblo heritage. If confirmed, she will become the first-ever Native American cabinet secretary. Just writing those words takes my breath away.

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