Federal Coach: With Ken Salazar, Peering into the Department of the Interior

Ken Salazar is the 50th secretary of the Department of the Interior. Previously, he served as a U.S. senator from Colorado, Colorado’s state attorney general and the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Salazar has also been a farmer and a small businessman. This interview was conducted by Tom Fox, author of the Washington Post’s Federal Coach blog.

What life experiences have helped shape your views on leadership?

Growing up in a very rural and remote area in Colorado’s San Luis Valley – one of the poorest counties in the United States – essentially created the framework of values from which I operate. I stand up for the little guy. I fight discrimination at all levels. I fight for an inclusive America. I recognize that my own American dream was one which eluded my parents, but they gave it to me because of education. I don’t believe that the American dream should be reserved for those who are born into the elite or somehow have been given an advantage over others. My growing-up experience is probably the most important thing that guides my priorities and my work today.

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