Bruce Babbitt hails from the West, but he isn't universally popular there. Conservative Western lawmakers fault the secretary for dismantling the hands-off environmental policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations. Environmentalists, however, see the former Arizona governor as an ally on such issues as mining, grazing, water and timber policies, land management and endangered species. The secretary's handling of an Indian casino license became an issue during congressional and media examinations of Democratic fund-raising practices. On March 19, 1998, a three-judge panel appointed an independent counsel to investigate Babbitt.
Sworn in: Jan. 20, 1993 (nominated Dec. 23, 1992)
Succeeded: Manuel Lujan, in the Bush administration
Previous occupation: Democratic presidential candidate, 1988; governor of Arizona, 1978-87; attorney general of Arizona, 1975-78; natural resources lawyer; president of the League of Conservation Voters; trained as a geologist.
Education: Notre Dame (B.A. in Geology); University of Newcastle, England (M.S. in Geophysics); Harvard Law School (L.L.B.).
Hometown: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Spouse: Harriet (Hattie), attorney, U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States.
Children: Two sons, Christopher and T.J.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Of note: Babbitt was widely vetted in 1993 as a possible successor to Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
Key Stories: Independent Counsel Investigation of Bruce Babbitt
Babbitt Probe to Focus on Memory of Discussion
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company