Ken Salazar Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Ken Salazar  

Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Ken Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradoan, was confirmed as the 50th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior on January 20, 2009, in a unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate. He served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior until February 2013.

As Secretary of the Interior, Salazar launched an aggressive reform agenda to restore Interiors independence and integrity, overhauling offshore oil and gas development oversight and raising the bar on safety standards; spurred a renewable energy revolution at Interior, with the largest solar energy projects in the world now under construction on public lands in the West and a dynamic plan for renewable energy in Americas oceans; led a bold agenda for American land conservation, partnering with communities to conserve our nations crown jewels; and tackled long-standing injustices in Indian Country, including settling the Cobell litigation.

Prior to his confirmation, Salazar served as Colorados 35th U.S. Senator. As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Salazar helped lead the passage of the 2005 and 2007 Energy Policy Acts, the most significant comprehensive energy bills in decades. Salazar also helped lead the successful bipartisan effort on the 2007 Farm Bill which included important provisions on energy.

In the Senate, Salazar also worked to provide affordable health care by fighting to broaden the Children's Health Insurance Program and improving health care for older Americans. He worked to help veterans in rural communities get better access to health care by creating the Office of Rural Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs and by pressing that agency to open new rural outreach clinics in Colorado. He exercised a leadership role in championing a new defense and foreign policy that restores American security and influence around the world and pressed for a change in mission in Iraq to better advance America's national security interests.

As Colorados 36th Attorney General, Salazar led efforts to make communities safer, fight crime, strengthen the state's sex offender laws, address youth and family violence, enhance and enforce Colorado's consumer protection laws, combat fraud against the elderly, and protect Colorado's environment. He established the first-ever Colorado Attorney General Fugitive Prosecutions Unit to apprehend and prosecute fugitive murderers, and led numerous investigations, including the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. He was awarded the Conference of Western Attorneys General Profile in Courage award for his work.

Prior to serving as Attorney General, Salazar served in the Cabinet of Gov. Roy Romer as executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. There he crafted regulations for oil, mining, and gas operations to encourage safe and responsible development, and worked to uphold Colorados interstate water compacts. As the author and first chairman of Great Outdoors Colorado, Salazar built one of the most successful land conservation efforts in the United States. The programs success was a model for President Obamas Americas Great Outdoors Initiative to create a 21st century agenda for conservation and outdoor recreation.

A farmer for more than thirty years in Colorado, Salazar was a partner with his family in El Rancho Salazar where they have farmed and ranched the same land in the San Luis Valley for five generations. He and his wife have owned and operated small businesses, including a Dairy Queen and radio stations in Pueblo and Denver. He earned a political science degree from Colorado College in 1977 and graduated with a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1981 before working as a water and environmental lawyer with some of the top firms in the West. Salazar and his wife, Hope, have two daughters, Melinda and Andrea, and one granddaughter, Mireya.


No videos yet.

Related Speakers View all

More like Ken