December 16, 2008 / 1:13 AM / 10 years ago

Obama picks Colorado's Salazar as Interior head

Senator Ken Salazar nominates Barack Obama for president from the podium at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, who once practiced as an environmental lawyer, to be his interior secretary, a senior Democrat said on Monday.

Obama said at a news conference on Monday he would soon announce his choice for Interior Secretary — a key member of his energy team who would oversee the leasing of federal lands for oil and gas drilling.

Salazar is from the western part of the country, where most Interior secretaries come from. The son of Americans of Mexican descent, he would be the second Hispanic in Obama’s Cabinet.

Reporting by Deborah Charles; editing by Todd Eastham

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