Daines: Bernhardt Will Make a Great Deputy Secretary of Interior

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today praised the U.S. Senate confirmation of David Bernhardt as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“David Bernhardt is a westerner who is well-qualified to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Interior,” Daines stated. “I look forward to watching David hit the ground running and work with him to improve our great public lands.”


Shortly before the vote, Daines took to the Senate floor to highlight Bernhardt’s qualifications:


Click HERE to download Daines’ remarks.

Click HERE to watch Daines’ remarks.


Daines’ remarks as prepared for delivery:


“Mr. President, David Bernhardt is a well-qualified nominee to serve as our next Deputy Secretary of the Interior.


“The Department of the Interior is charged with managing:

  • Our wildlife,
  • Our public lands, including our National Parks and Refuges,
  • Our nation’s rich natural resources, which are key to American energy independence,
  • And they are charged with the sacred responsibility of protecting the federal government’s trust responsibility to Indian tribes.


“Managing the Department of the Interior is a complex balancing act. We need someone who is knows how to balance competing interests and we need someone who understands the importance of our public lands.


“David Bernhardt has spent his life balancing competing interests, weighing stewardship of our natural resources and wildlife with the letter of the law. His relationship to our lands and Western way of life is not second nature, but first.


“Mr. Bernhardt was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 2006 as Solicitor of the Department.


“As Solicitor, he proved he was capable of upholding the law, even in difficult situations. You may remember that he wrote the opinion that decided to list the Polar Bear and drafted a workable rule. And as we know, Secretary Salazar upheld this rule.


“As Solicitor, he prioritized establishing a robust ethics team at the Department. That ethics team still exists today.


Mr. Bernhardt has proven to have the highest level of integrity and work ethic. David is a Westerner, from Rifle, Colorado. And the importance of our public lands and wildlife flows through his veins like a lot of us from out West. I have confidence that he will be a dedicated servant to our Western way of life where we love to hunt, fish, hike on our public lands. I have confidence in this, because I know he loves this way of life as well.


“And, I am not the only one who has this confidence. He’s gained a lot of support from groups from across the country—including the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Boone and Crockett Club. And others that many Montanans are members of like the Mule Deer Foundation, National Sport Shooting Foundation, and the NRA.


“When the U.S. Senate confirmed Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior he became the first Montanan to serve in the President’s cabinet since our statehood in 1889, it sent a message that the Department of Interior would have our Montana values, our Western values. Confirmation of David Bernhardt as Deputy Secretary would make good on that promise.


“While Montanans and Westerners highly value access to our public lands and wildlife, Montanans are also pleading for our land management agencies to be better partners—to work in alongside with our states and landowners.


“And Secretary Zinke needs a right-hand man to help ensure we uphold our commitments to Indian nations.


“Secretary Zinke promised to rebuild trust in our federal land and wildlife management agencies and strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes. He needs a Deputy in place that can help him implement his vision to restore trust and balance to the Department for Montanans.


“My colleagues, it’s time Secretary Zinke has a deputy we can all count on. I look forward to casting my vote for David Bernhardt.”





 Contact: Marcie KinzelKatie Waldman