Last month, New Mexico native Deb Haaland was confirmed as the nation’s first indigenous person to hold a cabinet position. In her new role as the Secretary of the Interior, she’ll be on the front lines of applying renewable energy standards across the nation.
Before her recent promotion, Secretary Haaland ran her own small business producing and canning Pueblo Salsa, served as a tribal administrator at San Felipe Pueblo, and became the first woman elected to the Laguna Development Corporation Board of Directors, overseeing business operations of the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in New Mexico. She successfully advocated for the Laguna Development Corporation to create policies and commitments to environmentally friendly business practices.
After running for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Secretary Haaland became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party. She is one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. In Congress, she focused on environmental justice, climate change, missing and murdered indigenous women, and family-friendly policies.
Having a renewable energy advocate in her position is decisive for New Mexico’s clean energy future. She now represents an agency that generates $12 billion for treasury, $315 billion for the U.S. economy, and nearly 2 million jobs. Haaland is looking to invest heavily in renewable energy and power grid infrastructure. The top four Department priorities include renewable energy development that addresses climate change issues on a national scale.
Climate advocates believe this is a significant turning point for the Interior, creating a pathway for private sector collaboration in the agency’s efforts to decarbonize and bolster federal production of renewable energy.
Secretary Deb Haaland is an example that local environmental and economic experts can look to for decision-making that will benefit our neighbors and the entire country.
Congratulations, Secretary Haaland!