Reports indicate CMR will get Interior Secretary post

S-E Sports Editor

Update: According to CNN, President-elect Donald Trump chose Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke as his nominee for Interior Secretary.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, elected to a seventh term last month, is expected to be named interior secretary by President-elect Donald Trump, according to multiple media reports, including one from the New York Times.

By the time you read this, the speculation certainly could be over—or not.

The veteran Congresswoman has been mentioned as a possible Interior Department Secretary since her meeting with Trump on Nov. 20 in New Jersey.
CMR was also named a vice-chairwoman of the 13-member Trump transition team.
At press time, Trump still had not made a decision and was still considering other applicants for the post.


Others who have been considered include Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lucas Oil co-founder Forrest Lucas, former Colorado Rep. Bob Beauprez and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

If McMorris Rodgers gets the nod from President-elect Trump and his team, her seat representing Eastern Washington would be filled in a special election next spring or summer. The successor to CMR also could come out of next year’s general election in November.

If the congresswoman is picked and resigns her position before March 7, a special election would be held to fill the 5th Congressional District seat sometime in the spring or summer. If her resignation happens after March 7 or before May 15, the campaign would happen during the general election cycle in 2017.

If her resignation happened to occur after May 15, the 5th Congressional seat would remain vacant until the general election is over.

For the record, the Department of the Interior protects and manages U.S. natural resources and cultural heritage and allegedly honors its commitments to American Indians, Alaska natives and affiliated island communities. The position’s oversight also includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The department also oversees development of energy supplies on public lands and water issues in the West.

Current Interior Secretary under the Obama administration is former Seattle-based REI CEO, Sally Jewell.

Vying for her job

Among what could be a crowded slate of potential eastern Washington residents seeking CMR’s likely vacated Representative’s seat are Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, state Senator Michael Baumgartner and state Representative Matt Shea. They all said late last week they would seek to replace McMorris Rodgers if Trump names her to head the Interior Department.

Also in the mix could be Dave Wilson, who has run unsuccessfully on two occasions for Congress against CMR. Wilson has run as an independent.

Closer to home, Brian Dansel, R-Republic, told the Spokesman-Review he is more concerned with his work in Olympia and isn’t interested.

“This is going to be a very important legislative session,” Dansel said last week. “I’m not interested. That’s a tough job and a tough one to do well.”

In the State House of Representatives, McMorris Rodgers served the same district Dansel, a former Ferry County Commissioner, now represents.