Biden Nominates Former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar To Be The US Ambassador To Mexico

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David Zalubowski/AP Photo
Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaks during the annual state of Colorado energy luncheon sponsored by the Colorado Petroleum council Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Denver.

Ken Salazar, former Interior Secretary, U.S. Senator, state Attorney General, and lawyer, may get a new title to add to his list. President Joe Biden announced today that he plans to nominate Salazar to be the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

The nomination drew praise from Colorado’s senators, who will vote on it in the chamber.

Sen. Michael Bennet, who took over Salazar’s Senate seat in January 2009, said the Coloradan with deep roots in the San Luis Valley is a terrific choice, and he’ll do everything he can to get Salazar confirmed.

“He would be an incredible, inspired choice to be our ambassador to Mexico,” Bennet said. 

Bennet said Salazar would bring “integrity and work ethic and experience and reputation” to the job. And, he added, the Mexican government would know how seriously Biden is taking the bilateral relationship with Salazar as the nominee.

“We, in Colorado, are proud of him and grateful for his service once again,” Bennet said.  

“Of all the people I worked with in politics, Ken Salazar has, perhaps, the greatest ability to bring people together that are seriously crosswise,” Sen. John Hickenlooper said. “I would love to see him as Ambassador to Mexico.”

If confirmed, Salazar would be going into the job at a tense moment in the bilateral relationship, and not just because of U.S. immigration policy. In May, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador accused the U.S. of interfering with his nation’s sovereignty after the U.S. Agency for International Development’s decision to fund an anti-corruption and press freedom organization that has been critical of his administration.

In 2007, Salazar was one of a dozen senators who tried to craft bipartisan legislation to overhaul the country’s immigration system. The ambitious plan failed, as have subsequent efforts to arrive at a lasting, bipartisan solution to the issue.

Aside from working with Biden in the Obama Administration and in the Senate, Salazar co-chaired the Biden campaign’s Latin Leadership Committee. At the time, Salazar said, “Joe Biden understands the Latino community is a keystone to our democracy and future prosperity of the United States.”

A fifth-generation Coloradan, Salazar hails from Los Rincones in the San Luis Valley. He has strong ties to the region. Last month, he joined Gov. Jared Polis and Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg for a roundtable discussion about water and agriculture. He was also on hand for the Rio Grande Natural Area ribbon-cutting ceremony with Polis and Hickenlooper.