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Gale Norton

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Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton

Gale Ann Norton (born March 11, 1954) is the 48th United States Secretary of the Interior, serving under President George W. Bush. She is the first woman to hold this position.

Norton graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Denver in 1975 and earned her law degree with honors from the same university in 1978. She is married to John Hughes. In the late 1970s, she was a member of the Libertarian Party and was nearly selected as its national director in 1980. Norton has been associated with a number of groups in the "wise use" or "free-market environmentalist" movement, such as the Political Economy Research Center, of which she is a fellow. As a lawyer, Norton wrote about some industry's "right to pollute". She also worked as Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and, from 1979 to 1983, as a Senior Attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Gale Norton

From 1991 to 1999, Norton served as Attorney General of Colorado. Prior to her election as Colorado Attorney General, Norton served in Washington, D.C. as Associate Solicitor of the United States Department of the Interior, overseeing endangered species and public lands legal issues for the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

In 1996, she was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, but was defeated by then-Congressman Wayne Allard, in part, because she was pro-choice. Before being named Interior Secretary in 2001, Norton was senior counsel at Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, P.C.

In 2004, Secretary Norton was mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate in her home state of Colorado, after the incumbent, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, decided to retire. However, she ultimately decided against it, and the seat was won by Democrat Ken Salazar.

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Preceded by:
Bruce Babbitt
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
2001 – present
Succeeded by:
Incumbent
Preceded by:
Alberto Gonzales
United States Presidential Line of Succession
Succeeded by:
Mike Johanns

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