Obama to Nominate REI CEO as Secretary of Interior

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/54458860@N00/2530851069/">functoruser</a>/Flickr

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According to numerous reports, President Obama will announce on Wednesday that he is nominating Recreational Equipment Incorporated CEO Sally Jewell to serve as the next Secretary of Interior. Jewell, as Washington State native, is certainly a nontraditional pick for a job typically given to Western politicos, and the selection is drawing interesting responses.

(Full disclosure—I’m an REI junkie. The flagship store in Seattle is basically my happy place. You can get many products that are made with recycled materials or made in the US, and you can return anything. OK, end of disclosure.)

Environmental groups issued excited press releases about the selection, noting that Jewell and REI have partnered with both Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation on programs to promote the outdoors. “Whether it’s been through her work to get more kids outside or her accomplishments in building a business that recognizes the passion Americans have to explore the outdoors, Sally Jewell has demonstrated that she knows just how important our wild places are to our national legacy and our economy,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a press release.

But members of Congress from states heavily involved in energy development were much more cautious. “The livelihoods of Americans living and working in the West rely on maintaining a real balance between conservation and economic opportunity,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “I look forward to hearing about the qualifications Ms. Jewell has that make her a suitable candidate to run such an important agency, and how she plans to restore balance to the Interior Department.”

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee, said he has “reservations” about the Jewell appointment, including concerns that REI has “intimately supported several special interest groups and subsequently helped to advance their radical political agendas” (i.e., Sierra Club and NWF).

Before coming to REI, Jewell worked as an engineer for Mobil Oil and a banker. See Sarah van Schagen’s Grist profile of Jewell from 2007 for more.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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