Thursday, December 18, 2008

Salazar's "characteristic ten-gallon hat and bolo tie"

Obama's naming of U.S. Senator Ken Salazar to be Secretary of Interior and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture is old news by now, and I have little to add to the mainstream coverage of these picks, such as the New York Times reporting here. I will comment, however, that I really like the fact that Salazar appeared at the newsconference with Obama in his cowboy hat and bolo tie, which the Times story called "characteristic."

As I have suggested previously, I think Obama's cabinet needs a little cultural and geographical diversity -- in addition to the ethnic diversity that Salazar represents as a Hispanic. Whatever his other strengths and weakenesses in the eyes of environmentalists and conservationists, Salazar is a fifth generation Coloradoan who has worn many metaphorical hats in the public and private sectors during his career. He grew up near La Jara, Colorado, population 877, where he also attended school. His higher education credentials are more elite -- a B.A. from Colorado College and a J.D. from the Univeristy of Michigan. But with his rural and agricultural upbringing in the southwestern part of a southwestern state, Salazar represents diversity on several fronts.

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