The Blue Ballot
Deb Haaland

In Historic First, Biden Nominates Native American Woman as Interior Secretary

In an historic first, Biden has nominated a Native American woman to serve as secretary of the interior. Also, Ocasio-Cortez passed over on key committee spot, and Biden vows “top priority” response to hacking of US infrastructure.

Biden nominates Native American woman as Interior Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Congresswoman Deb Haalan to serve as his interior Secretary. The move is an historic first in many respects. If confirmed, Haaland will be the first Native American in a cabinet secretary role. She will also be the first indigenous person to lead the department which is responsible for governing public lands, as well as playing a key role in Native American affairs, the BBC reported.

Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM), 60, is an attorney and former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. She has served New Mexico’s first congressional district since 2019. She is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe. Haaland previously made history becoming one of the first two Native American women ever elected to Congress in 2018.

Kathleen Rice selected over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Two New York Congresswomen were jockeying for an appointment to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, lobbying to colleagues behind the scenes for weeks, Politico first reported. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announce that Rep. Kathleen Rice was selected over fellow New Yorker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the committee, NBC reported.

Politico reported on a contentious private meeting that was held on Thursday at the Steering and Policy Committee. Reportedly, a secret ballot was cast to vote on the two candidates. The results of the vote was 46-13 in favor of Rice over Ocasio-Cortez. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce oversees numerous issues, including consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, health care policy and climate issues.

“Grave” hacking of US infrastructure: Biden vows to make response a “top priority”

So far, President Donald Trump has yet to comment on a major breach of US infrastructure which officials are calling a “grave” risk. Federal authorities suspect that the cyberattack was carried out by Russian hackers. The Russian government is denying any role in the cyberattack.

President-elect Joe Biden promised that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office.”

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency acknowledged the existence of a sophisticated, long-undetected intrusion into US and other computer systems around the world. The cyberattack was difficult to detect and will be difficult to undo, ABC reported.

The intrusions revealed thus far by the America’s cybersecurity agency reportedly affected the U.S. Treasury and Department of Commerce, as well as the Department of Energy. The Energy Department is also responsible for managing US nuclear weapons. The agency said America’s nuclear arsenal was not compromised, the BBC reported.

Private companies were also attacked. Microsoft acknowledged the discovery of malicious software in its systems.


Ellis Logan