From West Seattle to the White House: Sally Jewell of REI nominated to be Interior Secretary

February 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 24 Comments

(White House photo added, 5:40 pm)
FIRST REPORT, 12:34 PM: President Obama‘s nomination today of REI president/CEO Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior has a double West Seattle link – she has a residence here (thanks to all the WSB’ers who e-mailed to point that out), and REI was founded here. Here are details on the nomination from our partners at The Seattle Times; if confirmed, Jewell – who also has worked in banking and the oil industry – would succeed Ken Salazar, who had announced he would leave Interior next month. Another prominent West Seattleite, King County Executive Dow Constantine, has issued a congratulatory statement:

President Obama has made a wise decision in looking to our deep pool of talent in the Pacific Northwest, and nominating Sally Jewell as our next Secretary of the Interior.

As the leader of an iconic outdoor recreation business, Sally has worked to preserve our natural lands as a board member for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Her proven business success, and respect for the natural world, give her the background to successfully meet the many challenges of managing our public lands. My congratulations to Sally.

REI has issued a statement, too.

ADDED 9:12 PM: The White House’s video of today’s announcement is now available:

The first person who e-mailed us about the announcement suggested we should pursue an interview; we put in a request with REI, which told us it’s referring all requests to the White House.


  1. This is awesome news! I used to work with Sally many years ago and she’s an outstanding person.

    Comment by Lisa — 12:41 pm February 6, 2013 #

  2. Wow! Congratulations to Ms. Jewell!

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 12:49 pm February 6, 2013 #

  3. There is no better person for the job. Go Sally go!

    Comment by Jasper — 1:24 pm February 6, 2013 #

  4. Represent.

    Comment by MrB — 1:36 pm February 6, 2013 #

  5. She will be able to come back to REI in 4 years because REI always accepts returns.

    Comment by JWT — 1:43 pm February 6, 2013 #

  6. Did not know that REI was founded here. I do remember the climbing legends, the Whittakers, used to come into the restaurant where I worked on Beach Dr when I was a teenager.

    Comment by G — 3:02 pm February 6, 2013 #

  7. I’m so happy I’m going to cry..

    Comment by toodles — 3:05 pm February 6, 2013 #

  8. seems like a good cabinet choice to me.

    Comment by Nick — 3:37 pm February 6, 2013 #

  9. How can we have someone with roots in big oil and big banks in this position?

    Comment by JD — 4:06 pm February 6, 2013 #

  10. “How can we have someone with roots in big oil and big banks in this position?”

    And tents! Don’t forget tents!

    Comment by transplantella — 5:20 pm February 6, 2013 #

  11. We are dreaming of a National Monumnet designation for BLM Lands in San Juan County!

    Keepers of the Patos Island Light

    Comment by Linda Hudson — 5:40 pm February 6, 2013 #

  12. I’m with JD on this. I’m a birdwatcher and we all know that big oil & big banks are bad for birds.

    Comment by Jeff B. — 7:31 pm February 6, 2013 #

  13. Way to go Sally! We’d be lucky to have such an exemplary and thoughtful mind representing our parks and natural resources.

    Comment by Ann — 7:33 pm February 6, 2013 #

  14. Hear hear! Sally Jewell is a fantastic choice.

    Comment by Kelly — 9:44 pm February 6, 2013 #

  15. Drill Baby! DRILL!!!!

    Comment by velo_nut — 6:53 am February 7, 2013 #

  16. Nice to see Sally come out on top after she was shoved out years ago by the crooks at WaMu.

    Comment by Jsv — 7:11 am February 7, 2013 #

  17. Slightly off-topic but a response to G’s note: The Whittakers grew up in West Seattle! In Arbor Heights, I think. There’s a tile of them in the bus shelter at California and Admiral on the southeast corner of Admiral. Bringing it back to REI, at least, Jim was REI’s first full-time employee back when it was a tiny walk-up.

    Comment by Mary — 8:26 am February 7, 2013 #

  18. I know she worked at WAMU. I want to know more about what she did there. How come no one is mentioning that? Anyone connected with the financial meltdown should not be promoted.

    Comment by Bus rider — 9:19 am February 7, 2013 #

  19. “How can we have someone with roots in big oil and big banks in this position?”

    Perhaps because she can bridge the gap between environmentalists and big oil interests, and is more likely to make actual progress that way. Sally Jewell is first and foremost a champion of natural lands and outdoor recreation. She has dedicated more of her life to protecting and promoting nature than any single birdwatcher. Sally is a remarkable person and a great leader and Seattle can be very proud of her!

    Comment by sdc — 9:23 am February 7, 2013 #

  20. Any idea where in West Seattle Lloyd Anderson’s home was? It should be a landmark :)

    Comment by Kim — 12:18 pm February 7, 2013 #

  21. “She has dedicated more of her life to protecting and promoting nature than any single birdwatcher.”

    So she is a step above John James Audubon, John Muir, and Teddy Roosevelt? Wow, I guess Obama does know what he is doing, I had no idea. I just thought she was someone who made millions of dollars for stockholders and oil companies.

    Go figure?

    Comment by Jeff B. — 7:41 pm February 7, 2013 #

  22. Promoting outdoor activities and protecting the environment are not the same thing. In some instances, they can even be mutually exclusive. It’s kind of like calling mass-produced commercial products “green” because they were made of materials stripped from the environment. NOT.

    That said, I wish we had an REI in West Seattle. Seems only fair…

    Comment by enid — 7:13 am February 9, 2013 #

  23. Way to shill for Down Constantine AGAIN, WS Blog.

    Comment by JoAnne — 9:27 am February 11, 2013 #

  24. He sent a news release. Publishing quotes from our local elected officials – especially those who are West Seattleites – isn’t shilling. It’s news. But thanks for reading! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:36 am February 11, 2013 #

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