Michael L. Connor, Commissioner,
Bureau of Reclamation, 2009 to 2014
I am truly honored to be writing you on my first day as the twenty-first Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. It is an exciting time to be back at the Department of the Interior and working with all of you on the growing water challenges facing communities across this country.
By way of background, for the past 8 years I have served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee where I worked closely with staff from Reclamation, USGS, and other Interior bureaus on legislation and other matters affecting a range of Interior programs. Before that, I worked at the Department of the Interior where I began my career in 1993 as part of the Solicitor’s Honors Program. I did stints in the Division of Indian Affairs and then the Southwest Regional Solicitor’s Office in Albuquerque until 1998, when I became the Deputy Director and then Director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office. I received my law degree from the University of Colorado and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico State University.
As I take the helm at Reclamation, I have no illusions about the challenges and expectations facing our agency. The nation is in transition and the West is evolving at an even faster rate than other regions. Of course, Reclamation will continue to try and improve the manner in which it delivers water and generates power for our long-standing partners. But Reclamation is now expected to serve a much broader spectrum of needs in the 21st century.
In rolling out the 2010 budget recently, Secretary Salazar noted that the Department of the Interior is positioned to be a leader in “responsibly developing America’s new energy frontier, tackling climate impacts, restoring and preserving America’s treasured landscapes, creating a 21st century youth conservation corps, and investing in tribal communities.” Reclamation, perhaps more than any other agency within the Department, has a role to play in all of the initiatives identified by the Secretary. I look forward to working with each of you in developing and implementing an agenda that addresses these priorities and benefits the American people.
You, as an employee of Reclamation, are our most important resource and the key to our success. As I travel throughout the West, I look forward to meeting with you as we work together to address the many water-related issues facing this country.