The White House this afternoon nominated New Mexican Mike Connor, a former aide to Sen. Jeff Bingaman and current head of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, to be second in command at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
As an aide to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., from 2001 until he was appointed by the Obama administration to head Reclamation, Connor helped arrange the settlement between the Navajo Nation, the state of New Mexico and the federal government over the Navajos’ rights to water from the Colorado River.
Born in Utah, Connor and his family moved to Las Cruces when he was 2. His mother was half Taos, though not an enrolled member of Taos Pueblo.
Connor grew up in Las Cruces and went to New Mexico State University for engineering before heading to Colorado for law school.
It was at law school that he was exposed to the issues surrounding water law, politics and policy, and he was hooked, he said in the interview.
“It encompasses everything,” Connor said.
“He’s from our state. He knows our state. He’s a good choice for New Mexico,” Connor’s former boss, Jeff Bingaman told me in a telephone interview this afternoon.
I’ll have more in tomorrow’s paper.