Speeches

Mr. President, I’d like to speak for a few minutes about Ryan Nelson, who has been nominated as solicitor for the Department of the Interior.

Ryan is a fantastic choice for this position at Interior. As a native of Idaho Falls, he is a fellow Westerner who understands the issues confronting the region.

But Ryan would not just work on behalf of the West. I know he will serve honorably on behalf of the American people as a whole.

But in order to do that, he first has to be confirmed.

By my count it has been 222 days [as of Monday, 3/12] since Mr. Nelson was nominated.

There should be no further delays. The American people deserve to have qualified professionals in the executive branch.

And Mr. Nelson is qualified.

He has worked in notable posts in all three branches of government.

During the George W. Bush administration, Ryan worked as deputy attorney general in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

In that position, he personally argued 13 appellate cases. He also oversaw 700 attorneys and staff whose work touched on all aspects of energy and environmental issues.

Later, Ryan worked in the White House as deputy general counsel for the OMB, and as a special counsel to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions.

And that is just his experience in government. Ryan has senior management experience in the private sector as well.

For the past eight years, he has worked as general counsel for Melaleuca, Inc., a billion-dollar Idaho business.

So Ryan does not just know what it is like to work in government. He also understands the challenges that businesses and workers face in the modern world.

I have known Ryan Nelson for many years.

We overlapped for a year at BYU law school. Afterwards, I recruited him to work at the law firm Sidley Austin.

After pulling all-nighters alongside Ryan, I can confirm what nearly 50 of his former colleagues wrote about him in a recent letter of support: He is an excellent choice to serve as solicitor.

Ryan has outstanding analytical skills and attention to detail—qualities that will serve him well as the Interior Department’s top lawyer.

As you know, Mr. President, this administration has made it a priority to repair the relationship between the federal government and Western states.

However, too many workers in the West still do not feel they are treated fairly by their government.

We can help restore their trust by confirming qualified, impartial nominees like Ryan Nelson without further delay.