U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she will vote to confirm U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to be secretary of the Department of Interior.
Haaland would be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet-level position.
Collins said that after examining Haaland’s qualifications, reviewing her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and meeting with her, she will offer her support.
Haaland currently serves as the vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she is known as a strong critic of oil and gas drilling and a political progressive who supports the Green New Deal.
Collins said that while she disagrees with some of Haaland’s views, she appreciates her deep knowledge of tribal issues. Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo and one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress.
Around the country, Indigenous people see her possible confirmation as transformational for a department that has a legacy of separating Indigenous children from their families and for opening sacred land to mining and drilling.
Collins previously announced that she would oppose the nomination of President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget. Neera Tanden’s nomination was withdrawn Tuesday amid opposition over her history of criticizing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Collins also cited Tanden’s deletion of hundreds of tweets in her opposition.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.