One day after the nomination of Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) as the next Secretary of Interior by President-elect Donald Trump, a plethora of political voices from all over the country chimed in with praise or outrage.
In a series of releases sent to ICMN, the comments from several D.C. officials are as follows:
DNC Communications Director Adam Hodge
“Ryan Zinke’s nomination is nothing short of an insult to the agency responsible for managing the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage, providing scientific and other information about those resources; and honoring special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities. Like many of Trump’s other nominees, he is a climate change denier and he holds a pathetic 3% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters. He was caught on camera labeling some of the Indian Reservations he represents in Montana as a prime example of “dependence on government.” And he supports transferring federal land management to local governments that have fewer resources to do so effectively.
“President Obama has a remarkable record of protecting our precious natural resources for future generations. He’s protected more public land and water than any president in our country’s history, designated national parks and monuments such as Stonewall, and fulfilled our commitment to American Indians and Alaska Natives. In nominating Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump has once again confirmed that he wants roll back all of our progress on behalf of his son and big oil and gas lobbyists. He should not be confirmed.”
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, (R - AK)
“I will continue to chair the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs in the 113th Congress.’m extremely pleased to see a Westerner nominated to become the Secretary of Interior. This has been a top priority of mine – getting someone who understands the historic level of obstruction and mismanagement facing Western states. Rep. Zinke has a strong record of service to this nation – as a U.S Navy Seal, a two-time Bronze Star recipient, and as my colleague in the House and on the Natural Resources Committee – and I look forward to working with him to restore a level of confidence and certainty within the Department of Interior.
“Earlier I spoke with Mr. Zinke to congratulate him on his nomination. Although we may share differences on certain issues, we spoke extensively on the issues of land management – the idea that we shouldn’t be locking away lands but truly managing them. And that’s what excites me. He’s big on streamlining development, overturning needless regulations and trying to make the government more responsive to local people – all of which are important for Alaska. We also spoke on the need to overturn Secretary Jewell’s heartless denial of the King Cove road, the massive overreach of federal land managers in Alaska, the importance of local consultation.
“Sadly, the Department of Interior has become a bureaucratic nightmare, dead set on restricting access to all federal lands – often in violation of ANILCA. I’m confident under a new Administration we can begin making the changes necessary to improve DOI – including the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management – to meet the needs of the Alaskan and American people.”
Representative Betty McCollum (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party - Minn.), Ranking Member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee
“In the six weeks since his election, President-elect Donald Trump has begun laying the groundwork to roll back nearly a century of progress protecting our environment and conserving our public lands.
“The nomination of Representative Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior is yet another sign that the Trump-Pence administration will favor special interests over conservation and put polluters before America’s public lands and natural treasures. In his short time in the U.S. House, Representative Zinke has voted repeatedly to sell America’s public lands to private interests and sided again and again with the fossil fuel industry.
“The Department of the Interior plays a critical role protecting public lands and endangered species, preserving our national and natural heritage, and upholding our obligations to Native Americans. Those are values that I will continue to defend, especially in the face of Trump’s regressive agenda.”
Fort Belknap Indian Community
“The Fort Belknap Indian Community is delighted that Congressman Ryan Zinke is under consideration to serve as the Secretary of the Interior. The Fort Belknap Indian Community strongly endorses Congressman Zinke’s nomination for that important post.
“The Secretary of the Interior is the chief steward of the trust relationship between the United States and Indian tribes. We have complete confidence that Congressman Zinke would be very successful in that role. During his service representing Montana in the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Zinke has been a stalwart advocate for tribes. We know that he both understands and respects tribal sovereignty and also cares deeply about Native American people.
“It is not widely known, but Congressman Zinke is ceremonially adopted as an Assiniboine, one of the two Tribes which, along with the Gros Ventre Tribe, comprise the Fort Belknap Indian Community. Congressman Zinke was a mentor and friend to Michael Bell, an Assiniboine man and Navy SEAL who was killed while home on leave in 2006. Michael Bell’s father, Theodore “Ted” Bell, is a Fort Belknap Tribal citizen. During Mike Bell’s Navy service, Congressman Zinke was a constant source of advice and encouragement. We are grateful for Congressman Zinke’s support for our relatives, and for Native youth more broadly.
“Throughout his professional career in the Navy and in his service in the Montana Legislature and continuing in his service in the U.S. House, Congressman Zinke has established himself as a leader worthy of tribes’ trust and confidence. His door is always open and in Fort Belknap’s experience, he is always willing to listen. He is never afraid to take a fresh look at things. As he often reminds tribal representatives who meet with him, his view is that he works for us. Most importantly, Congressman Zinke has a significant sense of context for the challenges and opportunities facing Indian Country. He is not burdened by any learning curve, but instead would come to the Interior post with a wealth of experience, broad contacts and proven record of success in government-to-government relations.
“For these reasons, the Fort Belknap Indian Community urges the confirmation of Congressman Ryan Zinke to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior.”
Montana Democratic Party
"Congressman Zinke has a tremendous responsibility ahead of him in protecting access to our public lands and clean water, and serving Indian Country. But it is important to remember less than 40 days ago, he asked Montana voters to re-hire him to be our voice in the U.S. House," said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. "Yet again, his personal ambitions have trumped Montanans decision and voice. We wish him well and will continue to hold all leaders accountable to Montana values. Congressman Zinke is no exception."
Congressman Tom Cole (R - OK)
“Whether on the battlefield as a Navy Seal, or as a Member of Congress on the House Floor, Congressman Zinke is a true patriot who serves his country with honor, distinction and effectiveness.
“I am incredibly pleased with President-Elect Trump’s choice to nominate my friend and colleague, who I am confident will serve in this position very well. Congressman Zinke is well-versed and knowledgeable about the issues concerning our nation’s interior from his service in the Montana State Legislature and his role on the House Committee on Natural Resources. As a lifelong hunter and fisherman, he has great respect for our environment, and is a strong advocate for conserving public lands and keeping them productive.
“I am especially pleased that Ryan has publicly noted his commitment to, and understanding of, Native American issues,” continued Cole. “As the Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus, I’ve had the opportunity to work with him on a numerous Native American matters. He is a consistent defender of tribal sovereignty, and is committed to helping tribes achieve economic independence. Ryan truly is a leader that fully encompasses the scope of what this role will require, and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”
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