Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Watch List: Oklahomans who might get Trump appointments

President-elect Donald Trump is in the midst of picking appointees for his Cabinet and various other top government posts. Among the many names being mentioned for different positions are several Oklahomans.

Gov. Mary Fallin                                Businessman Harold Hamm
Secretary of the Interior

The Department of the Interior manages about 75% of all federal public land, is responsible for conservation of natural resources, and operates numerous agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and oversees policy in American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Governor Mary Fallin and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm are being mentioned as possible picks. Fallin met with Trump on Monday, while it appears that Hamm has had no interview yet.

Secretary of Energy

Despite its name, the Department of Energy actually has more to do with nuclear issues than what you typically think of when you hear "energy" (i.e. oil and gas drilling, etc). Over half of the DOE budget is dedicated to managing our nuclear arsenal and cleaning up atomic-related waste. It also runs the Office of Science, which is focused on research. The DOE has some influence on oil and gas policy, as well as energy-efficiency standards.

Harold Hamm is one of the names being mentioned for this position.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine
NASA Administrator

The NASA Administrator is the highest-ranked official at NASA, and serves as the senior space science advisor to the President of the United States. The Administrator oversees day-to-day operations, manages resources, and sets policy and direction for the agency,

Congressman Jim Bridenstine is one of the rpeople being reported as possible appointees (interesting read here on Bridenstine being the "outsider" pick versus the "insider" options). Before being elected to Congress, Bridenstine was the executive director of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum, and helped with the effort to bring one of the retired space shuttles to Tulsa. Space issues have been one of his priorities in Congress.

Secretary of the Air Force

The Air Force Secretary is the head of the Department of the Air Force, and "is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families."

Congressman Jim Bridenstine, a former Navy pilot who spent 9 years in active duty and is currently in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, has also been mentioned as being considered for this post.

Matt Pinnell
RNC Chairman

With Reince Priebus being tapped as Trump's Chief-of-Staff, that leaves the RNC chairmanship vacant. While technically the position is elected by the National Committee, the President (or President-elect in this case) will have the real decision making, and the Committee will formally elect his pick. Former OKGOP chairman Matt Pinnell, appointed by Priebus as the RNC's State Party Director, was touted as a frontrunner for the job before the presidential campaign really picked up. Priebus being Trump's chief-of-staff may help Pinnell get the job.

President-elect Trump and T.W. Shannon

Former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon had a meeting Sunday with Trump and top aides Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon. During the meeting, Shannon said they discussed transportation, infrastructure, poverty, education, and issues related to Western land usage. Watch his interview on Fox & Friends here. UPDATE: rumors of possibly a Bureau of Indian Affairs position?

And for one more Oklahoma, here's what the Tulsa World reports: 'Another Oklahoman, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, said last week that he has reached out to Trump with a request that he be named to the new administration’s Cabinet. “I’m trying to be considered with the new Trump administration to be the secretary of transportation or to be in that office,” he said Nov. 15, acknowledging that he has not heard from Trump or his transition team.'


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