As the foremost national coalition of organizations dedicated to civil rights and racial justice, we call upon the United States Senate to swiftly confirm Congresswoman Debra Haaland as this country’s 54th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) – and the first American Indian or Alaska Native to serve as a cabinet secretary in this nation’s history.
It is imperative our government equitably reflects the diversity of the nation it serves. President Biden has assembled the most diverse cabinet of any presidential administration to date, and Representative Haaland, an enrolled citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, epitomizes that diversity. Her selection to the top post at the Department of the Interior is particularly historic, given that Interior is entrusted with upholding the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations to 574 federally recognized Tribal Nations and millions of American Indian and Alaska Native people across this country.
We support Rep. Haaland’s confirmation as Interior Secretary because she is exceptionally qualified to lead this agency at a crucial moment in our nation’s history. Through her work as Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources Committee and the Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, Haaland shepherded key bipartisan legislation through the U.S. House, including the historic Public Lands package in 2019 and the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020. In 2019 alone, she introduced more bills with bipartisan cosponsors than any other House freshman.
Rep. Haaland’s legislative record demonstrates her commitment and ability to properly steward our nation’s lands and resources, and that she will bring pragmatism and bipartisanship to the performance of her responsibilities as Interior Secretary. Rep. Haaland has also been a champion for public safety and justice, particularly for those communities that are disproportionately victimized by violence. She played an instrumental role in the passage of Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act of 2019. The latter bill was the first to be co-sponsored by four Native members of Congress – Republican and Democrat – to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) by bringing together law enforcement, tribal leaders, federal partners, and survivors.
A proven civil rights and racial justice advocate, Rep. Haaland will ably serve all Americans in her role as Interior Secretary, ensuring that the Department’s policies are both equitable and just. From environmental conservation to rural economic development, she will engage all relevant stakeholders to ensure that our nation’s lands and resources are healthy so they can sustain our communities, economies, and cultures for generations to come. Rep. Haaland deserves to be confirmed as Interior Secretary without delay.
Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, NAACP, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS are a collaborative of nine leading national racial equity anchor organizations (the Anchors) supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Together, we work to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to reach their full potential.