In a 51-40 vote, Haaland was confirmed as the interior secretary, becoming the first Native American in a president’s cabinet.
This is not her first foray into politics.
Debra Anne Haaland is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 1st congressional district since 2019. From 2015 to 2017 she was chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. Haaland’s district includes most of Albuquerque and most of its suburbs. Along with Sharice Davids, she is one of the first two Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress.Representative Debra Haaland | Representing the 1st District of New Mexico (house.gov)
Republican’s opposed her because of her support of “The Green New Deal” and general opposition to fossil fuel. John Barrasso, who represents Wyoming, attempted to brand her as a “radical selection” and suggesting that Haaland would support policies that will take a “sledgehammer” to Western jobs.
To calm republican fears during her confirmation hearing, Haaland acknowledged the importance of fossil fuel in current American society.
“As I’ve learned in this role, there’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services,” she said in her opening statement. “But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed. Together we can work to position our nation and all of its people for success in the future, and I am committed to working cooperatively with all stakeholders, and all of Congress, to strike the right balance going forward.”
In floor remarks Thursday teeing up Monday’s vote on Haaland, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised Haaland and touted the historic nomination.
“Given the long and troubled relationship between the federal government and tribal nations, the ascension of Rep. Haaland to the top of the Interior Department is a profoundly important moment for America as we advance on the long road—still not fully traveled at all—of equality, or towards equality,” Schumer said. For too long, tribal nations have been denied a seat at the table where decisions were made that impacted their lives and their land. Not only will a Secretary Haaland ensure that they get a seat, she will bring her own lived experiences to the table alongside them.”