WASHINGTON, D.C. (KRQE)- The Senate voted on Monday to confirm Deb Haaland as President Joe Biden’s secretary of the Department of the Interior 51-40. Haaland is the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency and giving her a central role in President Joe Biden’s plans to fight climate change.
The Senate confirmed the New Mexico Democrat in a vote of 51 to 40 after she got support from Republicans including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Maine Senator Susan Collins.
Haaland serves as the U.S. Representative for New Mexico‘s 1st Congressional District and is a member of the Laguna Pueblo. A 35th generation New Mexican, she also earned degrees from the University of New Mexico and UNM Law School according to her House biography.
Haaland will oversee policies and the use of 500 million acres of federal and tribal land and will oversee the U.S. government’s relationship with some 574 federally recognized tribal nations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Haaland’s appointment will help repair the relationship between the Interior Department and the tribal nations that had not been treated fairly by that agency.
Haaland became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018. New Mexico Democratic Senator Ben Ray Lujan, who presided over the Senate during Monday’s vote, said Haaland’s appointment sends a signal to young Native Americans.