SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland), the first California Native American elected to the Legislature and a lifelong resident of the San Manuel Indian Reservation, today cheered the 11-9 vote by a key U.S. Senate committee advancing the nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) as U.S. Interior secretary.
I am excited and proud to see Rep. Haaland’s nomination move a step closer to reality. For hundreds of years, the Department of Interior has wielded enormous power over the lives of the country’s Native Americans without including them in decision making that affects their health, education, land and governance. Today’s vote of approval by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is a moment that neither my long-passed family members nor I expected to ever see.
It was also gratifying and a sign of hope that Republican senators joined in approving this nomination.
If approved by the full Senate, she would become a historical figure as the nation’s first Native American cabinet member and first Native American Interior secretary. Earlier this month, I wrote to the Senate committee members and California’s U.S. senators urging Haaland’s confirmation.
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.