Chicken-Fried News: Interior work 

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President-elect Donald Trump is assembling his presidential cabinet.

Among his appointments are Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff — even though everyone has trouble spelling his name — and chief strategist and senior counselor Stephen K. Bannon, former executive chairman of far-right commentary and opinion website Breitbart News. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is a leading candidate for interior secretary.

Since most of us got a good ol’ ’Merican education and might not know what that is, Chicken-Fried News will kindly give you a short reminder. The U.S. Department of the Interior is in charge of “us[ing]sound science to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources; honor[ing] our nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations, and advocat[ing] for America’s island communities,” according to the department’s website. The interior secretary leads this department.

During her time as Oklahoma governor, Tulsa World reported, Fallin forged strong ties with the oil and gas industry (which might be considered by some as a conflict of interest) but has also worked well with the state’s many tribal governments, making important negotiations and even resolving longstanding disputes between tribal and state governments. Her work with tribal nations appears to lend credence to her cabinet consideration.

“We sent out a support letter,” Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker told the Tulsa World. “(Fallin) understands sovereignty; she understands oil and gas; she understands all of the issues under the Department of Interior. And we hope she has some impact on who is chosen for some of the other positions in the department. She’s somebody who has a history of working with us.”

Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett agreed with the Cherokee chief’s sentiments and also supported Fallin’s nomination to Trump’s cabinet.

“I absolutely would endorse Gov. Fallin for the secretary of the interior position,” he told KOCO 5 News at 9 on Dec. 5. “I think she’d be excellent. (The position) deals with a lot of land views, and it deals with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And both of those areas, she has a lot of experience with.”

Fallin met with Trump and Priebus in late November to discuss her candidacy. They also discussed her work with Oklahoma tribes and position “on the governing board of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreations Department,” reported the Associated Press.

“We had a long conversation about the Indian tribes in our state and how very important they are to economic development, about sovereignty issues. We talked about the energy sector,” Fallin said at a Nov. 22 press conference at the Oklahoma State Capitol. “We talked a lot about the economy and jobs and how to get our economy going again and to create jobs quickly. He was very focused on that.”

Print headline: Interior work

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