Obama taps Interior official for deputy secretary post

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“He has proven himself to be a thoughtful and collaborative leader on some of the toughest challenges at the Department – including finding sustainable solutions to water challenges in the West and resolving Indian water rights claims,” Jewell said.

Connor drew quick praise from the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will vet the nomination, which could signal a smooth confirmation process.

“I believe his integrity, work ethic and his ability to solve tough resource related issues will make him an asset to the Interior Secretary,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the committee's top Republican, in a statement.