Ken Salazar was confirmed as the 50th Secretary of the Interior on January 20, 2009. As secretary, Salazar, 53, oversees a department that has recently been plagued by a series of ethics scandals. In his confirmation hearing, Salazar announced his intent to restore the department's reputation, promote renewable sources of energy, and develop a youth civilian conservation corps.
Before being tapped by President Obama to head a department that oversees 70,000 employees and manages a $16.8 billion annual budget, Salazar was the U.S. Senator from Colorado from 2004 to 2008, where he was known for his trademark cowboy hat and bolo tie. In the Senate, Salazar was active in efforts to enhance children's health insurance, expand alternative forms of energy and implement immigration reforms.
Prior to serving in the Senate, Salazar was Colorado's Attorney General from1998-2004. While in the private sector, Salazar practiced environmental law for 11 years. He was also a partner in his family's farm, El Rancho Salazar. Salazar and his wife have also owned and operated small businesses, including a Dairy Queen and radio stations in Pueblo and Denver. He received a political science degree from Colorado College in 1977 and a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1981.