Executive Director's Notebook: A Western Governor is the best choice to be Secretary of the Interior

Published on .

By Jim Ogsbury

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. The installation of a new Administration naturally presents an opportunity to reset the state-federal relationship, and WGA looks forward to working with the President-elect in that endeavor.

In the meantime, WGA is urging the appointment of a sitting Western Governor to the critical cabinet post of Interior Secretary. Department of the Interior operations have disproportionate impacts on WGA member states. The jurisdictional area of the Bureau of Reclamation, for example, is entirely within our footprint. The Bureau of Land Management administers 264 million acres of public lands, the vast majority of which are located in the West. The policy issues confronted by the department -- from endangered species to water scarcity to tribal matters -- have profound and unique impacts on the West.

No one is in a better position to lead Interior than the Governor of a Western state. Western Governors work closely with departmental bureaus on a daily basis and have a deep appreciation for the challenges faced jointly by Interior and the states. Western Governors acquit themselves with honor, dignity and integrity as the chief executives of their respective states. WGA has no doubt that such an appointment would visit great credit upon the new Administration.

You can learn more about the presidential transition when the Governors convene Dec. 13-14 for their Winter Meeting in San Diego. The meeting opens with a keynote by David Eagles, the Director of the Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service. That address will be followed by a transition roundtable featuring the Governors.

Jim Ogsbury is the Executive Director of the Western Governors' Association. Contact him at 303-623-9378 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.