Colorado’s Ken Salazar starts Interior job, hires Tom Strickland |

Colorado’s Ken Salazar starts Interior job, hires Tom Strickland

M.E. Sprengelmeyer
Rocky Mountain News
M.E. Sprengelmeyer/Rocky Mountain NewsThe new Secretary of the Interior and former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar walks into his new office and first day of work in Washington D.C. Wednesday morning

Brand new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was greeted by horse-mounted police and a lobby full of his new staff this morning at Interior Department headquarters, and he unveiled former U.S. Senate candidate and longtime friend Tom Strickland as his chief of staff.

In brief remarks to the assembled staff, Salazar promised they would all be part of the monumental change that President Barack Obama is bringing to the country and to Washington, D.C.

“We together, all of us in this department and all of its agencies and all of its bureaus, are going to be part of changing the world for the better,” Salazar said from under his trademark cowboy hat.

He said he was honored and humbled by the crowded reception.

He alluded to his marching orders from Obama, which is in part to clean up the department after a series of scandals during the Bush administration.

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He stressed that he strongly believes that 99 percent of the department’s more than 70,000 employees are wonderful public servants.

“There are a few problems here and there,” Salazar said. “We are going to root those problems out, OK?”

Strickland, who twice lost senate races against Wayne Allard and who was U.S. Attorney in Colorado when Salazar was attorney general in Colorado, left a job in the health care industry to take a new role at Salazar’s side.

“These are issues I know and love, and it’s a chance to do it at a time of historic opportunity,” Strickland said.

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