Salazar Names Tom Strickland as Chief of Staff

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has named Tom Stickland, former U.S. Senate Candidate and U.S. Attorney for Colorado as his chief of staff.

Strickland is not a career prosecutor. He was U.S. Attorney under Clinton for two years, from 1999 to 2001. He took office the day after the Columbine shootings. His primary focus was prosecution of serious gun law violators. Previously, he lost the 1996 Senate election to Wayne Allard. He lost to Allard again in 2002. (Allard decided not to seek re-election this year and was replaced in November by Rep. Mark Udall.)

I'm a bigger fan of Strickland's than Salazar's. He's one of the very few politicians I asked TalkLeft readers to contribute money to. [More..]

As I wrote here in 2002 when he ran for Senate,

Strickland is highly critical of Bush's foreign policy. He thinks he has politicized the Iraq issue to validate his father. He thinks Saddam is a threat, but he doesn't favor attacking Iraq now as the way to eliminate him--not until we've exhausted every other reasonable means. He thinks we should be helping to re-build Afganistan and similar countries. By attacking the poverty, despair and hopelessness that is the daily existence of people in these countries, we can reduce the number of those drawn to terrorism and those most susceptible to being converted by the terrorists.

Strickland will be giving up a multi-million dollar salary/economic package as Chief Legal Officer of United Health Group to go back into public service. I'm not surprised.

Strickland endorsed Obama for President in January, 2008, after initially supporting Bill Richardson.

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    Additionally, there are reports (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 08:52:30 PM EST
    that Salazar has decided and announced (blast email)  Interior will be having an all-employees meeting tomorrow as one of the first things he does as secretary.

    Remote sites will participate through video/satellite/webconference or some other electronic magic.

    The message seems to be "meet the new broom".

    That would be consistent with his history (none / 0) (#5)
    by sj on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 10:05:53 AM EST
    As I understand it, when he became Colorado's Attorney General there were many employees who had to re-apply for the job that they currently held.  I heard this from a friend who is an attorney in that office.  

    Good for Tom and good for us (none / 0) (#2)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 09:38:51 PM EST
    I guess this is one place that being a "lawyer/lobbyist" isn't going to be held against him.  

    I was concerned (none / 0) (#3)
    by weltec2 on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 06:14:43 AM EST
    enough with Ken Salazar in that position because of his ties with coal and mining. But what does Tom Strickland bring to the table. The Great Outdoors Colorado sounds good. But now we're talking about the whole Department of the Interior. Well... my best to them. I know Obama talked with Gore and no doubt discussed this among other issues.

    I'm glad to have Strickland there (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 09:18:12 AM EST
    I have my doubts about Salazar - he didn't impress me that much when I lived in Colorado. I think Strickland is committed, and also has the management cred.

    Too funny!!! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Thu Jan 22, 2009 at 01:52:51 PM EST
    From TPM:

    Just wanted to let you guys know that there was an all-hands meeting with the new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, at 11am today.

    The bullet points are:

    • Ethical misconduct and criminal acts by Bush political appoints spoiled image of department.
    • We want to be held to the highest standards of ethics and accountability.
    • We will respect the scientific process
    • There is the possibility that we will form a basketball team and take on the White House. Though Sec. Salazar noted that he has to be careful, as he "serves at the pleasure of the president."