January 06, 2021

Senator Hirono Meets with Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Nominee for Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the confirmation of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary, met today with President-elect Biden’s nominee, Congresswoman Deb Haaland. Senator Hirono and Rep. Haaland discussed a number of shared priorities for Hawaii and our country.

Senator Hirono congratulated Rep. Haaland on her historic nomination. If confirmed, Rep. Haaland would be the first Native American to serve as Secretary of the Interior. They discussed the trust relationship between the federal government and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities, as well as their commitment to seeing that trust honored and strengthened. Senator Hirono and Rep. Haaland also discussed the uniqueness of America’s relationship with the Freely Associated States of the Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

They also discussed the Department of the Interior’s broader jurisdiction in the context of other Hawaii priorities, like the state’s need for federal support in combating pests and pathogens, such as the fungus that causes Rapid Ohia Death, and other threats to endemic and endangered species in Hawaii, as well as monitoring volcanic activity.

The Senator and Congresswoman also agreed on the essential need to rely on facts and scientists when making department-wide decisions and the necessity of supporting federal employees, noting that this is true for DOI and all other agencies across the federal government.