Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Transition talk: Interior motives

Buzz in Washington right now is that the Obama transition team is considering two new candidates for Secretary of the Interior: Kevin Gover and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.). Most speculation last week focused on Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), but these new names appear to be high on the list as well. The transition team is expected to make a decision as early as this week. Gover currently serves as the director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. He previously served as a professor at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, where he was co-executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute and an affiliate professor in the American Indian Studies Program. He is a member of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and a judge for the Tonto Apache Tribal Court of Appeals and the San Carlos Apache Tribal Court of Appeals. Gover served as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs from 1997-2001, under then-Secretary Bruce Babbitt, working on law enforcement on Indian lands, rebuilding schools, and reforming the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mike Thompson, who has represented the first district of California since 1999, is a member of the moderate "Blue Dog" Democrats. He has an 88 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters and earned a 91 percent for the 110th Congress. Despite a high overall mark, he's had some run-ins with enviros in the past, often on issues that he'd influence as DOI secretary. In 2003, he voted for Bush's controversial Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which enviros saw as a massive gift to the timber industry....

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