President-elect Donald J. Trump taps Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to be Secretary of the Interior, according to an announcement made today.
The decision comes after reports indicated earlier in the month that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers would get the position.
As a Montana congressman, Zinke is familiar with the issues important to Western states and the federal management of public land. He is also a former Navy SEAL, serving for 23 years.
“He has built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues,” Trump said in a statement. “As a former Navy SEAL, he has incredible leadership skills and an attitude of doing whatever it takes to win.”
Trump vowed to repeal federal regulations that were blocking economic development of the country’s natural resources, but said he would do it in a responsible way.
“As someone who grew up in a logging and rail town and hiking in Glacier National Park, I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior,” said Zinke said in a statement accepting the position. “I look forward to making the Department of Interior and America great again. May God bless Montana, God bless America and God bless the troops who defend her.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan also praised Trump’s decision.
“As a Westerner with close to one third of his state owned by the federal government, he is intimately familiar with how Washington’s decisions affect people’s lives,” he said in a statement. “Ryan’s experience and commitment to improving the lives of all Americans will make him an excellent Interior Secretary.”