(Cheryl Gerber/AP)

It’s Earth Day on Monday, which is practically like Christmas for folks who’d rather hug a tree than chop one down.

Among those getting into the holiday spirit is Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes. Hayes has been the number-two guy at Interior since President Obama took office, and he held the same job in the Clinton administration. Prior to that, he practiced environmental law.

In preparation for the big day, Hayes chats with the Loop about scaling mountains and football fandom:

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Adding compost to my wife’s garden, per her instructions.

What’s the most environmentally friendly thing that you do? 

Drive my wife’s Prius (get the theme?).  

The least?



Which Cabinet secretary (other than your new boss, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell) would you most like to hang out with, and what would you do?

[Transportation Secretary] Ray LaHood, doing anything.  He’s just a fun guy.


What’s your favorite non-work-related Web site/app/magazine?

The New Yorker.


Fill in the blank: People would be surprised to know that I _________. 

Climbed the Grand Teton.


What’s your dream job?

Golf teaching pro at Pebble Beach.


What motivated you to go into public service?

There’s no better way to make a difference.


Favorite TV show?



Which character from that show do you most identify with?

All of them?  None of them?  Don’t push me on this!


What subject, other than your work, do you know the most about?

Notre Dame football (long-suffering fan).


What’s the best job you ever had?  

This one – I liked it so much, I came back for more!  (I was DepSec in the Clinton administration).


Fill in the blank: I’m scared of_________.

Snakes – particularly pythons and the invasive species that are found in the Everglades.

What’s one word you wish people would use to describe you?



You can draft one person in the private sector to come work for the federal government. Who would it be, and what would you have them do?

 Warren Buffett, to fully fund our nation’s parks, wildlife and conservation programs!

Background Check is a Loop feature in which we grill various government types about their lives on and off the clock. Please send suggestions for future subjects to intheloop@washpost.com.