By Quentin Choy
March 17, 2021
New Mexico U.S. Representative Deb Haaland has been confirmed by a 51-40 vote in the U.S. Senate to confirm her as Joe Biden’s Secretary of the Interior. While I despise the use of identity politics to snub the priorities of everyday Americans in the name of “progress,” Haaland’s confirmation truly is important.
Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe in New Mexico and was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018. She is a fierce progressive, supporting policies such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Haaland attended public high school and college, and she struggled to pay the bills, raising her children as a single mother. She also lived off of food stamps for portions of her life.
Her background is relatable to millions of working-class Americans, and I am glad to have someone with such circumstances in the president’s cabinet. Groups advocating for environmental justice and indigenous rights see Haaland’s Interior Secretary confirmation as historic, and they believe that she has the experience and expertise needed to run the Interior Department. An indigenous woman in the role of monitoring Native lands is a historic elevation of indigenous people to posts of power.
I am proud of Haaland’s confirmation and the impact that she will have on Native communities, working class people with similar backgrounds, and on those running for office against all odds, all across America
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