Call your two Senators to voice support for the nomination of Debra Haaland for Secretary of the Interior.
Haaland, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 for New Mexico’s 1st District, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribal community and a fluent speaker of Keres, a Native American language. [Scroll down for a link to her page on Ballotpedia.] If she is confirmed, she would be the first Native American to run the Department of the Interior as well as the first Native American to serve in a presidential cabinet.
It’s long past time to entrust the department to a Native American. As Julian Brave Noisecat points out in a February 25, 2021 Op-Ed in the Washington Post, the Department of the Interior “manages much of the land and resources taken from native nations and maintains relationships between those nations and the U.S. government.”
We’re sure you’ll be shocked–shocked!–to learn that a fair number of GOP Senators, particularly those who are extra-beholden to oil and gas interests, flipped out over Haaland’s nomination and tried to sink it. The Op-Ed mentioned above identifies their efforts for what they are. Here’s a key passage:
“What Haaland actually brings — and what the Republican Party seems to consider so dangerous — are experiences and perspectives that have never found representation in the leadership of the executive branch. In fact, Republicans’ depiction of the first Native American ever nominated to the Cabinet as a “radical” threat to a Western “way of life” revealed something about the conservative id: a deep-seated fear that when the dispossessed finally attain a small measure of power, we will turn around and do to them what their governments and ancestors did to us.”
Link to the full Op-Ed, which is titled Opinion: Why Senate Republicans fear Deb Haaland:
Haaland’s nomination hearings took place last week, on Tuesday, February 23, and Wednesday, February 24, and were overseen by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. As of Saturday, February 27, the nomination awaited a committee vote.
Despite GOP squawking, Haaland is likely to be voted out of committee and succeed in a Senate floor vote.
One big reason for that is Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who chairs the relevant commitee, has publicly stated he will support Haaland’s nomination.
Manchin’s blessing greatly improves the odds that Haaland will become our next leader of the Department of the Interior. If all 50 Democrats vote yes and no Republicans do, the Dems still win thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris, who would cast the tie-breaking vote in favor.
So! If you are a West Virginian, this is a good reason to call Manchin and thank him, for once. [We’ve asked, and will continue to ask, residents of Arizona and West Virginia to put in extra effort in calling their Senators to support Biden’s nominees and initiatives: https://onethingyoucando.com/2021/02/25/live-in-west-virginia-or-arizona-then-its-extra-important-that-your-democratic-senators-hear-from-you-late-february-2021-joe-manchin-edition/%5D
Also! If one or both of your Senators sits on the chamber’s committee on energy and natural resources, it’s extra-important that you call.
Here’s a link to the full, current list of members, but we’ll also name them below:
Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Chair
Ron Wyden of Oregon
Maria Cantwell of Washington
Bernie Sanders of Vermont (an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, the party that holds the Senate majority)
Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
Angus King of Maine (an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, the party that holds the Senate majority)
Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada
Mark Kelly of Arizona
John Hickenlooper of Colorado
John Barasso of Wyoming (minority leader)
James Risch of Idaho
Mike Lee of Utah
Steve Daines of Montana
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
John Hoeven of North Dakota
James Lankford of Oklahoma
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi
Roger Marshall of Kansas
You’re only calling your two Senators for this one, as weighing high-ranking nominations within a president’s administration falls to that chamber.
Before placing your call, please check the social media feeds and press release sections of your Senators’ websites to see what they’ve said, or failed to say, about Haaland and her Department of the Interior nomination.
Find your Senators’ contact information, and help others find their Senators’ information, here:
Sample calling script, which you can tweak as you like:
“Dear Senator [Firstname Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname] from [town, state, zip code]. I am calling to voice support for nominating Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior.
It is past time to give this top leadership post to a Native American. Period. Full stop. If confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American to hold it. She should not be the last.
I am confident she would do a superlative job with managing our country’s ample natural resources. I also support Haaland’s and President Biden’s prioritization of conserving and protecting land, rather than opening it to commercial exploitation, and I support approaching the department’s mission with an eye toward mitigating the effects of climate change.
[If one of your Senators is Joe Manchin: I see that you publicly voiced support for Haaland’s nomination already. I thank you for acting in this way, and using your power in this manner. It is what I want you to do.]
Thank you for taking my call.”
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