Sally Jewell Nominated for Secretary of the Interior

President Obama selects the CEO of REI to replace Ken Salazar as secretary of the interior.
18:25 | 02/06/13

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Transcript for Sally Jewell Nominated for Secretary of the Interior
This is a special hopeful. From ABC news now. President Obama about to introduce his nominee for secretary of the interior in a few. Moments Sally -- well let's listen in. Ken Salazar likes to say that the Department of the Interior is actually the department of America. Other members of my cabinet it may not entirely agree with that statement about -- consumer is coming. And secretary of interior is in charge of overseeing 500. Million acres of public life. Including places like -- and the Grand Canyon. And protecting our natural heritage. For children and our grandchildren and their children -- But the job also requires keeping an eye on America's future and -- Smart decisions about how we create jobs and help businesses grow. And put ourselves on a path towards energy independence. And that's not always an easy balancing act. But. -- enthusiasm. And skills. And dedication. That's exactly what -- sellers the last four years. We were just reminiscing -- I've known him since we were both. Running for the senate together. And became. The only to incoming Democrats. In our senate class Pete -- remembers this it was a lonely time. We actually lived in the same building when we first arrived in Washington. And Kenya or call it loses little discouraging because base there -- who live there was warning -- point five. We were -- to geriatrics. In this -- But I can't appreciate quickly not just his friendship. Which. You've got -- -- our friend. You've got to a real friend. Not only did I come to appreciate his jump shot -- surprisingly quick on the court. But also his patriotism and his belief that we've got a responsibility. To care for the land. -- which we've been blessed. And it's not surprising McCain feels this way after all his ancestors were living here before on the mayflower set sales. As he explains it and relevant as we are working to -- immigration reform passed his family did not cross the border. The -- crossed them. And that's why when I -- summary lead interior I didn't have to look very. Since being confirmed -- crackdown on waste he's improved management department to make it work better for the American people. He's ushered in a new era of conservation for land or water in -- -- -- -- establish. Seven new national parks. Ten new national wildlife refuges. He's open to more public land and water for safe and responsible. Energy production. I just gas and oil but also wind and solar. Creating thousands of new jobs and nearly doubling our use of renewable energy in this country. He's help to forge what's probably. The strongest. Working relationship with tribal leaders that the federal government has seen in modern times. And when the unexpected this happened. Like the gulf oil spill or hurricane -- He's been on the ground making sure. That people get help right away and we deal -- these challenges. As professionally as possible. So I really like it -- are got a point. -- is now ready to head back to cal Colorado. And spend more time with hope and his family. And so. In addition to just saying thank him for -- -- work you've done. -- also and have the opportunity to introduce his success. And I am extraordinarily proud today to nominate another strong and capable leader to take the reins -- enter and that is. Missed Sally -- In high school -- aptitude test showed she had a knack for mechanical -- -- -- building we checked. We do thorough -- Before nominations. Of course her recommended professions after she -- test work. To be a nurse or teacher. -- like all the other girls in her class. And it wasn't until she was an undergraduate at the University of Washington. Segregated at best when Sally realized her boyfriend's -- was more interesting numbers. And she decide to become an engineer. After graduation Sally went on to work in the -- of Oklahoma and Colorado. Later she brought her experience in the energy sector to banking where she spent nineteen years determining what makes companies succeed and fail. And most recently as the CO REI. A position she's held for the last eight years. Sally has helped turn a stalling outdoor retailer into one of America's most successful. And environmentally conscious compass. Last year REI donated almost four million dollars to protect trails and parks. And 20% of electricity used in -- stores comes from renewable sources. So even as Sally spent the majority of her career outside of Washington. -- how might -- the majority of our interior is located. She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are -- shape our future. She's committed to building our nation to nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation. And good jobs she knows that there's no contradiction. Between being good stewards of the land. And our economic progress that in fact those two things need to go hand in hand. She's shown that a company with more than one billion dollars -- sales can do the right thing for -- plan. Sally brought expertise and -- values -- -- -- serve her well she takes on. These new challenges she's got a wonderful and support family who I understand enjoy the great outdoors just like she does. So they've got a vested interest in making sure that. Part renters doing the right thing and then when sellers confirmed. I'm on the bet that you will be. The first -- of the interior who frequently hikes mailbox -- in her native Washington State. And who once spent a month climbing mountains in Antarctica which is just not something I think -- -- -- it seems like -- be cold. And I was born wife. So. For selling itself as part of job we'll probably be sitting behind -- desk I suspect -- from wanna get out of the office quite a bit but again I want to thank. -- cells are in the entire -- our family for their extraordinary service they're extraordinary friendship the department of interior stronger. This country is stronger. Our natural resources are a better place because it is extraordinary service. I could not be more thrilled with the work of Sally I know is gonna do and in. Following that path that -- has carved. I expect the senate -- confirm her as quickly as possible and would bet I'd like to invite both of them. To say a few words starting -- my dear friend -- The same when I -- notes. Let me this first -- -- to President Obama that I am humbled and honored. Beyond imagination to have been part the President Obama dream team for the United States of America. His presidency is historic. His team in the White House -- historic. And the team at the Department of the Interior are historic and for that I will never be eternally. Grateful to you -- wonderful and as the president. So it. Your leadership and support and this wonderful team that we have here we have. In fact change the way that the department of interior does business we have seized the opportunity together. With our other colleagues on the cabinet and under the president's leadership and your tax dollars that accurate White House. To put the nation on eight towards energy independence today the largest solar projects in the history of the world. Are coming up out of the deserts. The public lands of the United States. And our foreign oil imports are at the lowest that they have been since 1995. I'm proud mr. president of you and your -- Because of your leadership on conservation for America from your support in this signing of this historic 2009 public lands -- To the lots of America's great outdoors. Together we will ushered in a 20% -- conservation agenda. And priests preserve the crown jewels of our nation from the crown of the continent and Montana. To the Florida Everglades to the statue of liberty. I'm proud of our historic work perhaps more proud of this -- -- -- else for the nation's first Americans. From resolving the longstanding conflicts like -- all. To delivering clean drinking water to places like the Navajo Nation. You have given credibility Mr. President to the proposition. That the nation's first Americans to we'll share in the American dream. Mr. President my parents forced the rate children to become. First generation college graduates and taught us that anything was possible in this nation of ours as your secretary of interior. You have given to me. The opportunity to prove them right and to achieve that American dream. And for that full my wife -- my entire family will be eternally grateful to you. Today Mr. President I'm also felt stand with you here. As you announce your selection. An outstanding person to be your nominee for secretary of interior. Sally Jewell -- for -- inextricably linked between conservation. And the economy. Sully was the key contributor to you and to your entire team in the creation of the Americas Credo -- agenda. She's been a champion of the land and water conservation fund and so many other conservation issues of our time. I also know that her successful business record and experience is an oil and gas engineer. Will serve her well actually implements you're all of the above energy agenda which has been such -- keystone -- -- The last four years and I'm sure you have more to say about that very soon so Mr. President. I -- as you have done with all the decisions that you have made. Since I have been working with you and your team. This is a stellar decision and you've chosen somebody will be a unit a stellar outstanding secretary of the interior -- -- thank you Mr. President for your kind words. And for the confidence replacing -- this nomination. I have a great job at REIT today but there's no role that compares. And the call to serve my country as secretary of the department of interior. I'm humbled and I'm energized -- this opportunity and I look forward to getting no members of the senate as they consider my nomination in the coming weeks. Thank you secretary cells are for the opportunities you've given to people across this country. To engage with the department of interior. Sharing their hopes and their dreams for -- public lands are resources for people especially our first people. Our history in our culture. I look forward to working with the dedicated employees. And interior who works so hard to care for our land and our resources every day. -- and do my best of those big -- severest. But I think I might get lost in your -- Thank you weren't my husband of nearly 35 years ninety children Peter demand for their love and their support. On this career journey I'm excited to take this new challenge than you so much. From -- Hockey -- -- company she is president Obama's choice for secretary of the interior if confirmed she will replace Ken Allen cash and become the first woman to join the second Obama administration's cabinet. Joining us now we're a little more on jewel and what Washington is saying about the -- is our ABC news digital journalist in Washington Devin Dwyer high -- -- I don't know so tell us are both Democrats and Republicans pleased with this nomination could this be possible. Believe it or not they are it's actually kind of refreshing in Washington that there has been a sort of a consensus to this nomination Sally Jewell being someone that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. Because both labor groups in conservation groups. I seem to be behind -- she. As one conservationists told me today has the mind of an engineer the heart of an environmentalist in the know how. Of a businesswoman. So really -- unique combination of skills that -- everybody. You know -- in the Interior Department obviously presides over millions of acres of land including national parks. And drilling sites so obvious sometimes these two -- things can be and in conflict with each other. Can join please the conservationists and the energy companies. Well no matter what combination of skill she has an -- she has she still going to be. Faced with some tricky decisions as you know when it comes to approving some of these drilling permits under the current secretary secretary Salazar this administration has expanded drilling. In in coastal areas -- much to the disappointment of environmental groups so what people are going to be closely watching with jewel is whether she continues that trend of of approving permits for drilling at the same rate. Or whether she dials that back a little bit in -- -- to conservation groups so. Did the difficulty of navigating -- politics here remains and certainly for jewel it's going to be. Something of a baptism by fire she has no political experience -- so this is going to be yet something new for her. It will certainly be interesting when do we know much about her conservation background and in a senior official -- say conservation has been a central. Principal of Sally is -- but do we have any specifics on that. Well she served on -- one of the president's environmental initiatives the great outdoors initiative which promotes conservation. Of natural lands and of the national national parks. So she's been involved in in those efforts already and as the president noted you saw -- she's spent over a month hiking peaks and can't -- to cut. So she is -- -- and outdoors person as well who -- who has spent a lot of time in these places that the administration is seeking to preserve so she has. Has the credibility among conservation groups but the question is going to be. I can she continue to keep that balance between both sides with -- business groups as well. Right and as you mentioned earlier -- Obama administration certainly under pressure from conservation groups some of which were not very happy with his first term and in that regard she now she is the first woman appointed to the second Obama cabinet. What about criticism that Obama faced about a boy's club atmosphere is this enough to quell that. That's right well she certainly being the first woman now part of this the second term is. It's finally starting to quell some of that day inks over whether the president would continue to diversify his cabinet. Hot and there are signs that he still has more and women to -- there are openings that at the Environmental Protection Agency the Energy Department Transportation Department. Some leading candidates for those jobs are women. The new director of his budget office to be possibly. A woman knows the president and Wal-Mart foundation so. About this does start to -- some of that concern and and certainly does go a long way towards appeasing -- critics -- it imports about well. She seems like an average of all candidate like you said that both Democrats and Republicans like -- seems like she's a shoe and are there any surprises here that may come up. Her hurt her nomination at least -- in Kansas its first -- now that she's been announced seems pretty safe especially compared to some of the other candidates in the past few weeks you seen Chuck Hagel. Over at defense and others who are -- more controversial but. But you never know -- -- -- -- -- the senate we'll we'll have to watch closely yesterday is that we'll certainly you wait and see all right Devin -- in Washington thank you out. -- -- -- I'm -- ribeiro in new York and hasn't been an ABC news now special report we'll take you back now to our regular program. Since -- a special with the from in the ABC news now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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