Editor’s Note: The following is the text of Senator Maria Cantwell’s speech on behalf of Interior nominee Sally Jewell, delivered on the floor of the United States Senate earlier today. (Jewell was confirmed by a vote of 87–11). Video of the speech is available on YouTube. Our thanks to Senator Cantwell for sharing her remarks with our readers here on The Advocate as a guest post.
Mr. President, I join my colleagues from the Northwest to come to the floor this afternoon to speak in support of the nomination of Sally Jewell as Secretary of Interior. And, like my colleagues from the Northwest, I want to express how much we appreciate her willingness to serve and how proud we are of her legacy and interest in a variety of issues so far. And, obviously, the Department of Interior — with its broad range of services — is so important to us, including everything from our National Parks, to our wildlife refuges, to offshore drilling lease management, to the important science done by the US Geological Service and many other things.
In fact, I read that the Department of the Interior was called the “Department of Everything Else.” As a nominee, Ms. Jewell came before our committee and I want to thank her family for their willingness to support her — and their efforts to come to Washington, D.C. Because Sally is the exact type of leadership we need at the Department of Interior. She represents a balanced person who knows how to help a growing business like she did, and served on the University Board of Regents, and also worked on the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association.
She has done everything in business from dealing with oil fields in Oklahoma to commercial banking to — of late — running REI, one of our most successful companies in the Pacific Northwest.
So I know she has the kind of leadership that it takes to figure out these issues – about best use of public lands or the vigorous challenges the Department faces when it comes to modernizing the bureaucracy or thinking about climate change at the same time you are talking about deep-water drilling.
So it’s a myriad of things that we have to forge through and Sally Jewell is the right person with the right balance to get that done.
Having grown up in Washington where over forty percent of our land is public land, Sally understands these Western issues – whether it’s water rights or salmon recovery or understanding the impact on water levels, fire season, wildlife on BLM lands, or the importance of access to hunting and fishing – I guarantee, because she grew up there, Sally Jewell understands these issues.
And I know that she’s been involved in many organizations to express that. And that has been a good training ground for her. I’m confident because she is trained engineer, she’s going to bring a very pragmatic can-do attitude to the Interior Department’s management and problem-solving effort.
I know that science will be her compass and I know that she is not going to have an ideological bent. But she’s going to have a get it done mentality. Given the importance of the Interior Department’s agencies and very challenging mission, I’m excited that we are going to have somebody with the business background and a science background at the Department of Interior.
So I hope that our colleagues will vote today to move Ms. Jewell out of the United States Senate so that we can get her into the Department of Interior. So that she can begin this important job and continue to move our nation’s agenda forward. As the Chairwoman of the Indian Affairs Committee I look forward to working with Ms. Jewell on all the issues related to Indian Country as well.
There is much to accomplish, much to address and I think that her background is exactly what we need. So I hope my colleagues will move quickly on this issue.
And I thank the Chairman, Senator Wyden [of Oregon], for his leadership in moving her nomination through the process.