Former United States Senator and current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce today he’s departing his cabinet position within President Barack Obama’s administration next month, multiple sources have reported.
Salazar, 57, plans to return home to Colorado to spend more time with his family. The Democrat’s departure from the president's Cabinet coincides with the first months of Obama’s second term, which begins Sunday.
Salazar was officially selected to lead the Interior in 2009 after years serving Colorado as the state’s attorney general and in Washington, D.C., as one of its senators. He also served as Colorado’s director of natural resources for much of the 1990s.
For several months, according to the Denver Post, the Colorado College graduate had considered leaving federal government so he could rejoin his family. In addition to his duties across the country, Salazar and his wife are the primary caregivers to their granddaughter, who has autism.
Under his tenure, Salazar began nearly two-dozen large-scale solar projects and established seven national parks. Republicans and some business groups criticized Salazar in 2010 for a brief offshore drilling moratorium shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and devastated much of the surrounding area. Salazar stuck by his decision, saying it was his duty to protect the public and the environment.
For more on Salazar and his political ascent, read Maximillian Potter’s 2008 profile.