Opening Statement of Ken Salazar
Thursday, January 15, 2009; 5:00 PM
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee. I am honored to appear before you today as President-elect Obama's nominee to be Secretary of the Interior.
Before we begin, I want to thank my entire family, especially my wife, Hope, and my daughters Melinda and Andrea. Without their courage and unwavering support, and the support of all my seven brothers and sisters, I would not be here today.
I want to thank my late father, Henry, and my mother, Emma. A soldier and a public servant in World War II, they instilled in me the values that enabled all of my siblings and me to achieve the American dream. I also want to thank my Senate staff, in Colorado and Washington, for their service.
I have been blessed to represent the five million people of the State of Colorado in the United States Senate. I have come to know my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, as good friends and dedicated public servants. I am grateful to have served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and to have worked with you all on many of the energy, environmental and lands issues facing our nation. If confirmed, I look forward to continuing our work together.
My story in the West goes back 400 years, to when my ancestors helped found the city of Santa Fe -- the city of Holy Faith -- in New Mexico. I grew up in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, on lands my family has farmed and ranched for five generations.
My family's livelihood depended on the health of our land. Our parents taught us, and their parents taught them, that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the water, soil, and wildlife around us, so that we can preserve the balance that allows us to ranch and farm, generation after generation.