NESPELEM - On Feb. 9, the Colville Business Council issued a letter to the Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to issue support for President Biden’s historic nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) as the Secretary of Interior.

“Rep. Haaland has distinguished herself in Congress through her leadership on important matters like the Violence Against Women Act, renewable energy and environmental protection, cultural protection and other issues of importance to Indian Tribes and western communities in general,” reads the letter signed by Colville Business Council Chair Rodney Cawston. “I respectfully urge the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to take up Rep. Haaland’s nomination to ensure swift passage in the Senate. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.”

On Feb. 23-24, the committee hosted a public hearing for Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior, and although Haaland’s confirmation is awaiting a vote from the Senate, if approved, she will be the first tribal member presidential cabinet member according to multiple news outlets.

In a tweet, Feb. 24, Haaland stated, “The historic nature of my confirmation is not lost on me, but I will say that it is not about me. Rather, I hope this nomination would be an inspiration for Americans - moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us.”

The Biden Transition said in a press release Haaland “is a barrier-breaking public servant who has spent her career fighting for families, including in Tribal Nations, rural communities and communities of color. Currently serving as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Haaland will be ready on day one to protect our environment and fight for clean energy future.”

Following the hearings, Sen. Manchin joined a number of other leaders in announcing publicly he would support Haaland’s nomination. 

Haaland was first elected to represent New Mexico’s District 1 in the US House of Representatives in 2018. She was reelected in 2020.

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