President Obama has one more position to fill in his second-term cabinet. Following the departures of Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Timothy Geithner, and Hila Solis, sources in the administration have confirmed that his Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, will be leaving. "Salazar is expected to broadly announce his departure Wednesday. He has told President Barack Obama that he intends to leave his job by the end of March," reports Allison Sherry of the Denver Post. (Salazar is a former Senator from Colorado.) The AP and The New York Times also have sources pointing to the late-May departure. Salazar, as Sherry reports, wanted to be closer to Colorado because he wanted to spend time with his family:
But the pull of family obligations — he and his wife are primary caretakers of their 5-year-old granddaughter who has autism and is enrolled in a special school — was too great to commit to four more years, Salazar's office said.
His days in Washington are long. Some weeks he spends 16 hours a day traveling from one far-flung location to the other — from some pristine causeway in California to the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New Jersey coast.
Salazar's position as the Secretary of the Interior put him in charge of organizations such as the United States Geological Survey and the National Park Service. Appointed to Obama's cabinet a little over four years ago, Salazar played a role in establishing new wildlife refuges and dealing with wildfires, and he became a point man in handling the Deepwater Horizon debacle. Salazar is also well known for his bolo ties and audacious choices in neckwear.
Update: Here's President Obama's statement on Salazar's departure...
I want to thank Ken for his hard work and leadership on behalf of the American people. As the Secretary of the Interior, Ken has helped usher in a new era of conservation for our nation’s land, water, and wildlife. Ken has played an integral role in my Administration’s successful efforts to expand responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources. In his work to promote renewable energy projects on our public lands and increase the development of oil and gas production, Ken has ensured that the Department’s decisions are driven by the best science and promote the highest safety standards. Ken has also made historic strides in strengthening our nation to nation relationship with Indian Country, helping to resolve longstanding disputes and make tribal communities safer and stronger. I have valued Ken’s friendship since we both entered the Senate in 2005, and I look forward to receiving his counsel even after he returns to his home state of Colorado.