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Last week we reported that Donald Trump was likely to name Washington congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers secretary of the interior. It appears he’s changed his mind, and is likely to name Montana congressman and former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke:

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who has represented Montana’s at-large congressional seat for one term, to serve as secretary of the Department of the Interior, according to an individual with firsthand knowledge of the decision.

Zinke, who studied geology as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon and served as a Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008 before entering politics, campaigned for his House seat on a platform of achieving North American energy independence. He sits on the House Natural Resources Committee as well as the Armed Services Committee.

A lifelong hunter and fisherman, the 55-year-old Zinke has defended public access to federal lands even though he frequently votes against environmentalists on issues ranging from coal extraction to oil and gas drilling. This summer, he quit his post as a member of the GOP platform-writing committee after the group included language that would have transferred federal land ownership to the states. 

Zinke’s commitment to energy independence is admirable, and we’re certain he’s up to the challenge, but there may be a downside to this pick. Zinke was the favorite to run against Montana Democrat John Tester in 2018, a vulnerable Democrat who failed to clear 50 percent of the vote in his last election. It may be why Zinke has yet to formally accept the position. 

RELATED: American Commander’s Hilarious Take on What it Takes to be a Navy SEAL


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