The Department of the Interior has announced key members of agency leadership who will join the team working to advance the Biden-Harris administration’s agenda on behalf of the American people.
“As the Interior Department continues its work to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time, these talented and accomplished leaders will play a key role in helping advance the Department’s mission,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland stated in a release. “I am thrilled to have these new team members join us at the Interior Department and look forward to working together to pursue a clean energy future.”
The interior’s political team proudly reflects the diversity of America, with more than 50% identifying as BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) and 75% as women, notes the release.
The appointees are listed below in alphabetical order:
- Steve Feldgus – deputy assistant, Secretary for Land and Minerals Management
- Sarah Krakoff – deputy solicitor, for Parks and Wildlife
- Mackenzie Landa – advisor to the deputy secretary
- Lawrence (Larry) Roberts – chief of staff
- Heidi Todacheene – senior advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
- Dr. Eric Werwa – deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget
Biographies are listed below:
Steve Feldgus – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management
Steve Feldgus is returning to Interior after serving for seven years on the House Natural Resources Committee, including as Deputy Staff Director under Chair Raúl M. Grijalva and Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. During the Obama administration Steve served at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Bureau of Land Management. Before that, Steve spent an additional eight years working on energy, mining, and transportation policy for Congress. Raised in Philadelphia, Steve has a B.S. in Chemistry from the UMass at Amherst and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the UW-Madison.
Sarah Krakoff – Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife
Sarah Krakoff most recently was a law professor at the University of Colorado Law School and is a nationally recognized expert in Native American law, natural resources law, and environmental justice. Sarah is the founder and director of the Acequia Assistance Project, which provides free representation to low-income farmers in the San Luis Valley. Before joining the University of Colorado Law School, Sarah directed the university’s American Indian Law Clinic and secured permanent funding to ensure the Clinic’s future. She received her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 1991 and her B.A. from Yale in 1986.
Mackenzie Landa – Advisor to the Deputy Secretary
Mackenzie Landa most recently served as Counsel to Senator Cory Booker, working on environment, energy, natural resource, and agriculture issues. Prior to joining Senator Booker’s staff, Mackenzie served as Counsel to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, where she led the Committee’s work on nature-based climate solutions. She received an LL.M. from Vermont Law School in Environmental Law and holds a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law and a B.A. from Emory University.
Lawrence (Larry) Roberts – Chief of Staff
Lawrence Roberts is a citizen of the Oneida Nation (WI) and a professor at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Larry served as Acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs during the Obama administration. Prior to that, Larry served as General Counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and began his legal career in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Larry will be the first Native Chief of Staff for the Department of the Interior.
Heidi Todacheene – Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
Heidi Todacheene is a citizen of Navajo Nation who served as Legislative Counsel for Congresswoman Deb Haaland and Democratic Director of the Congressional Native American Caucus in the United States Congress. Previously, Heidi worked on intergovernmental affairs, economic development, and public safety issues on behalf of her Nation, served at the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, and as a civil litigation attorney. Heidi is the first in her family to attend law school and graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She is licensed in New Mexico, Washington D.C., and the U.S. District Court for New Mexico.
Dr. Eric Werwa – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget
Dr. Eric Werwa has more than 18 years of experience working on environmental and climate issues on Capitol Hill, where he most recently served as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Congresswoman Deb Haaland. Prior to that, he was Legislative Director for Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard of California and served in numerous roles, including Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director, for Congressman Mike Honda of California. Dr. Werwa graduated with a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his Ph.D. in Electronic Materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.