A Coloradan may once again take the reins at the U.S. Department of the Interior, as Rifle native David Bernhardt finds himself high among a half dozen or so names being considered by the Trump administration to succeed outgoing Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The president’s decision on who will fill the Cabinet post could come any day, with Trump tweeting Saturday that he planned to make an announcement this week.
Bernhardt, a 49-year-old attorney and longtime Washington operator who has served as deputy secretary at Interior since August 2017, would follow in the footsteps of Republican Gale Norton, a former Colorado attorney general who was Interior secretary for President George W. Bush, and former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, who held the post under President Obama.
Jon Hrobsky, a policy director with Denver-based law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck who has worked alongside Bernhardt for the better part of 20 years, said his former colleague is probably the “most qualified” person for the job, given his nearly decade-long stint at the department.
Bernhardt worked at Interior from 2001 to 2009, and climbed to the No. 3 position at the department as its solicitor in 2006.