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Ken Salazar vows (again) to stay put

By Ed O'Keefe

Let there be no doubt: Ken Salazar is staying in Washington.

Ken Salazar
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (AP)

"At this moment in history, with this president, and with the agenda we have ahead of us, I would rather be Secretary of the Interior than anything else in the world," Salazar said Thursday afternoon during a town hall meeting at Interior headquarters in Washington.

Salazar said someone recently asked him if he'd rather serve as transportation secretary of attorney general, but, “If you look at the world that I get to work on, it’s a wonderful world."

"When you think about this department, it really is a wonderful icon of the American people and I am very, very proud to be your secretary of interior and I look forward to working with you in the year ahead," he said.

Colorado Democrats recently tried wooing Salazar home to run for governor, but he declined and endorsed Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Salazar listed several of the department's 2009 accomplishments during his speech, including the distribution of billions of economic stimulus dollars to conservation and public parks projects, his decision to reopen the crown of the Statue of Liberty, the ground breaking on a national memorial to the Flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania, and continuing restoration efforts at the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes, among other spots.

"I’m proud that we have restored the role of science in decision-making," he said, and noted that brown pelicans and gray wolves in Montana and Idaho have been removed from the endangered species list.

But Salazar earned his biggest round of applause when he announced that the building's cafeteria will reopen on May 1. Priorities people, priorities.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 14, 2010; 4:12 PM ET
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Haskell Indian Nations which is run by The Interior needs big help Mr.Ken Salazar. We want our President Dr. Linda Sue Warner back immediately and From The LJWorld Dolph Simons Jr. : U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts isn’t the only federal lawmaker concerned about leadership issues — both in Lawrence and in Washington — regarding Haskell Indian Nations University.
Earlier this week, staffers from the offices of three Kansas Republicans — Roberts, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback and U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins — met in Washington with employees from the Bureau of Indian Education, which oversees Haskell.
Roberts has expressed concerns about leadership at the four-year school for American Indians since the bureau temporarily reassigned Haskell President Linda Warner to out-of-town posts: first to a school in New Mexico, then — as of this month — to a regional bureau office in Oklahoma City.
All three top administrators now working at the Lawrence campus are handling their roles on an “acting” basis. In Warner’s absence, scheduled visits by accreditation teams to review progress on establishing two new four-year degree programs were canceled.

Posted by: zooami1 | January 14, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Ken Salazar and President Barack Obama please return Dr.Linda Sue Warner back to Haskell Indian Nations University before it is too late.

Haskell Indian Nations University's Acting President Venita Chenault fails.
Venita Chenault is giving promised jobs to her friends…shame on her..and making decisions on gossip and hear say…shame ..and …well she done enough damage…sorry for the students who are there now…..
We feel that the biggest problem at Haskell Indian Nations University is the total lack of leadership even within the Bureau of Indian Education itself. Too many “actings” and not enough real experienced leadership, no organization can be run like this and certainly not an educational one.
Giving any power to “actings” is at best ludicrous.
We hope that Dr.Warner’s detail will end quickly and that she will be willing to return to Haskell Indian Nations University and maybe she can save a sinking ship even tho most of the programs that she put into place are drowning on that same ship build by Venita Chenault.
Venita Chenault needs to go and take those who tried to help her destroy Haskell Indian Nations University with her. Shame on her.

Posted by: zooami1 | January 14, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr.Salazar, Mr.Larry Echohawk and President Barack Obama, Please take note:
Students and staff of Haskell Indian Nations University run by The Interior want to know how did Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn get her job as head of BIE schools?
She is ruining our Native American schools.

Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn has a Bachelor’s degree in JOURNAlISM from the University of Oklahoma, and a Master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California-Berkeley. She also holds a SOCIAL WORKER license from the state of New Mexico.

Birdwell began her federal career in 1996 as a SOCIAL WORKER at the BIA’s Northern Pueblos Agency in Espanola, N.M.

Southwest Regional SOCIAL WORKER in the BIA’s southwest regional office in Albuquerque, N.M. Southwestern Regional bureau’s acting deputy regional director for Indian services, from October 2005 to January 2006 in Albuquerque, N.M.

October 2006, she joined the Office of Indian Services staff at BIA headquarters in Washington, D.C., as human services program officer, a position she held until May 2008.

Birdwell joined the BIE in June 2008 as the acting deputy director for policy, evaluation and post-secondary education.

Stephanie Birdwell MARRIED HER BOSS, the Chief of Staff, Spike Bighorn August 2008.

Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn received the career appointment as deputy director for policy, evaluations and post-secondary education - a senior executive slot - in mid-February 2009. Six months after her marriage to The Chief of Staff.

Posted by: zooami1 | January 14, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

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