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Beauprez confirms he’s being eyed for Interior secretary

Author: Dan Njegomir - November 21, 2016 - Updated: June 6, 2017

Colorado Republican former congressman Bob Beauprez confirmed reports today that he is among those under consideration to become the Trump administration’s secretary of the interior, a Cabinet post of pivotal importance to Colorado and the West.

The conservative political blog Colorado Peak Politics reported earlier today that Beauprez, who represented Colorado’s 7th Congressional District 2003-07, is on a list of reported prospects for the job overseeing much of America’s public lands. The blog post also looked at Colorado’s political clout in influencing the selection process.

Reached for comment this afternoon, Beauprez—a former dairy farmer, current bison rancher and businessman who made two runs for governor and remains a state GOP mover and shaker—expressed enthusiasm for the position but stressed his inclusion on the list of prospects is very preliminary:

Yes, I have had some communication with people that are part of the transition team. I know my name has been put in the mix. What that means, time will tell.

I’m very flattered, and it if came to pass, I would be thrilled to have that opportunity to serve my country in this new administration.

Beauprez also was touted for the post last week on Fox News’ Hannity; the favorable mention occurs at 4:18 into the segment:

In its report, Colorado Peak Politics recapped the list of names believed to be under consideration:

In addition to Beauprez, also in the running are Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska; Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe; Rep. Don Young of Alaska; retiring Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis; and Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch; Idaho Gov. Butch Otter; Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead; New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; Forest Lucas, founder of Lucas Oil; Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources; and Robert Grady, with Gryphon Investors.

The blog also offered these insights into the selection process—a possible indicator of Beauprez’s chances of landing the post:

The Interior transition team is being led by David Longly Bernhardt, a Rifle native who launched his political career in Washington more than two decades ago as a legislative aide to then-Congressman Scott McInnis.

Bernhardt’s entire career has focused on being on the right side of western issues including public lands, water, endangered species — pretty much every aspect which falls under the purview of the Interior Department.

His Interior bona fides were fulfilled after serving in numerous positions at the department including solicitor under former Secretary Gale Norton in the Bush administration. In between those government stints, Bernhardt worked for Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck.

As always, we’ll let you know if we learn more. The transition team for President-elect Donald Trump has plenty on its plate, of course, filling other Cabinet posts, and a timeline for the Interior hire isn’t known.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.