Salazar Says He’ll Be ‘Strong Voice’

CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be interior secretary is vowing to be a “strong voice” for the West, and for the nation.

Ken Salazar was named by Obama to head the Interior Department at a Wednesday morning news conference in Chicago.

Wearing a string tie and cowboy hat, Salazar said he was looking forward to working toward energy independence and confronting global warming and making wise use of the nation’s natural resources.

Salazar will head a department that oversees oil and gas drilling on public lands and manages the nation’s parks and wildlife refuges.

Obama says he doesn’t know anyone with a “better set of qualifications” to serve as interior secretary.

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