Sen. Alexander meets with Trump cabinet nominees

Published: Jan. 5, 2017 at 5:28 PM EST
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Sen. Lamar Alexander met with Secretary of Interior Nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) and Energy Secretary Nominee and Texas Governor Rick Perry separately Wednesday.

Sen. Alexander met with Rep. Ryan Zinke to discuss the Sevier County wildfires that blazed late November into early December.

"In my meeting, I talked with [Zinke] about the Sevier County wildfires that originated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park," Sen. Alexander said in a statement. "I told him how impressed and thankful I was for the hard work and bravery of our firefighters, police and other first responders, and local, state and federal officials, who helped save lives and evacuated thousands of residents and visitors. And I emphasized to him how important it is for the Interior Department to have a careful review of the response to the fires to determine what lessons could be learned for the future."

Alexander continued by stating the importance of protecting outdoors areas across the country and in Tennessee.

"After our discussion, I am confident Rep. Zinke shares my commitment to public lands and recreational access—they are critical to a state like Tennessee that is home to more than 400,000 acres of land managed by the Department of Interior and the most visited national park in the country."

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park annually attracts more than 10 million visitors and has generated nearly $900 million in economic activity for local communities. The National Parks Service exists as a part of the Department of the Interior.

Sen. Alexander also met with Texas Governor Rick Perry as nominee for Energy Secretary under President-Elect Trump's cabinet.

Sen. Alexander released the following statement: "I've known and admired Rick Perry for a long time and expect him to be an excellent Energy Secretary. He understands the role of the Department of Energy in managing and modernizing our nuclear weapons which is an important part of what goes on in Oak Ridge. He knows that the future of clean energy and our brainpower advantage depend to a great extent upon research at our outstanding national laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory. I have invited him to come to Tennessee early this year and see the important work done in Oak Ridge firsthand."