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Obama taps Ken Salazar for Interior post

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) (L) makes a statement after being introduced as interior secretary by President-elect Barack Obama at a news conference on December 17, 2008 in Chicago. Obama also introduced former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilasck as agriculture secretary designate. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey)
Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) (L) makes a statement after being introduced as interior secretary by President-elect Barack Obama at a news conference on December 17, 2008 in Chicago. Obama also introduced former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilasck as agriculture secretary designate. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey) | License Photo

CHICAGO, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama nominated former Senate colleague Ken Salazar to head the U.S. Department of Interior Wednesday.

"Ken will bring to the Department of Interior an abiding commitment to this land that we love," Obama said during a news conference in Chicago when introducing the senator from Colorado. "And one of Ken's critical roles as well is going to be working with our energy team to make sure that we are using our natural resources in a sustainable way and developing the kind of energy independence that is so vital to our economy."

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Obama also announced former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as his choice for agriculture secretary.

"Together, I think this team is going to do outstanding work," Obama said of Salazar, Vilsack and other members of his team addressing interwoven energy, environmental and economic issues.

"I look forward to working directly with President-elect Obama, as an integral part of his team, as we take the moon-shot on energy independence," Salazar said. "The energy imperative will create jobs here in America, protect our national security and confront the dangers of global warming."

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Salazar, a Democrat, is a former director of his state's Department of Natural Resources and serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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