Things are looking pretty good for Hillary Clinton in the polls — so good, in fact, that she could not be blamed for starting to think ahead to the White House.
It seems the Democratic Presidential nominee is doing just that. On Tuesday the Clinton campaign announced that the former secretary of state's White House transition team will be led by Ken Salazar. The appointment is a return to public relevance for Salazar, who was rumored to have been considered as a possible Clinton running mate but has been out of government since stepping down as President Barack Obama's Secretary of the Interior in 2013.
“Once Hillary Clinton makes history by being elected as the nation’s first woman President, we want to have a turnkey operation in place so she can hit the ground running right away,” Salazar said in a statement released Tuesday by the Clinton campaign, according to the Denver Post.
Here are 4 things to know about Salazar:
1. Government Experience
Salazar, 61, served in Obama's cabinet as Secretary of the Interior, from 2009 to 2013. He previously served as a Democratic Senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009 where he and Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida became the first Hispanic Senators since 1977. Salazar was also the Attorney General of Colorado for six years from 1999 to 2005 under Republican Gov. Bill Owens.
2. What Is A White House Transition Team?
As the head of Clinton's transition team, Salazar will be responsible for forming a list of cabinet secretaries and other administration positions, as well as developing Clinton's policy priorities. The transition team will be based out of Washington D.C. Both candidates are expected to form such a team, according to Politico.
3. Environmental Question Marks
As Secretary of the Interior, Salazar proved himself a capable bureaucrat, but also drew criticism from environmentalists, who were wary about his appointment to do his ties to the coal and mining industries. Salazar presided over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He was criticized for his slow response to the crisis, but later in his tenure took heat from the other side of the aisle for imposing tougher regulations on deep sea drilling.
4. Lobbyist Ties
After Salazar left the Obama administration in 2013, he became a partner at WilmerHale, a major law and lobbying fire, where he is one of 39 former public officials now working at the firm, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. WilmerHale's lobbying history makes Salazar a questionable candidate for Clinton to choose to head her transition team, as the Democratic nominee has campaigned on a promise to chip away at the potentially problematic "revolving door" between public officials and the private sector.