Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, is under consideration to be the next U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
Denham, who lost his re-election bid on Nov. 6 to Democrat Josh Harder, may replace Ryan Zinke, who is leaving the post a year’s end. Denham’s Chief of Staff Bret Manley confirmed the White House has approached his boss about the position.
Also reportedly consideration for the Interior post is U.S. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada.
Zinke will step down on Jan. 2, the day before Denham concludes his fourth term in Congress. Water has been of his core issues in the eight years he’s served. The Interior Department manages the nation’s natural resources, including water rights.
A Trump loyalist, Denham stood by Trump as he signed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, authorizing more than $6 billion in spending over 10 years for projects nationwide, including water storage in the San Joaquin Valley.
He was also on hand as Trump signed a water memorandum at an October event in Arizona, flanked by Denham and other members of the Valley GOP delegation.
Denham has served in Congress since 2011 and re-elected in 2012. 2014 and 2016. Harder defeated him by 4,919 votes.