Clinton’s Pick of Salazar Sparks Hope for a Pro-Trade Administration

For America’s trade-centric industries (most of them) seeking solace in election year anchored by anti-trade (anti-job) rhetoric from both sides – a sign of hope has arrived. Yesterday the Clinton campaign announced Ken Salazar - former Colorado Senator, Secretary of Interior and staunch trade supporter - as the chair of her presidential transition team. Salazar will lead the team tasked with finding and vetting candidates for over 4000 presidential appointees should Clinton win in November. It’s a powerful position, and the choice sends a clear message about Clinton’s priorities out of the gate.

Perhaps the strongest indicator of Salazar’s pro-trade agenda is his steadfast and outspoken support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In his role as Secretary of Interior, Salazar consistently championed the trade deal for its benefits at home and abroad. In a 2015 op-ed he co-penned in USA Today, Salazar detailed his perspective on what the TPP will do, specifically citing benefits for the middle class and the environment. “The TPP is a strong trade deal that will level the playing field for workers to help middle-class families get ahead.” Salazar wrote, “It is also the greenest trade deal ever. By including an environmental chapter with enforceable provisions, the TPP places the environment on equal footing with our economic agenda.”

Salazar’s trade focused track record reaches back to his time in Congress, where he voted to approve nearly every free trade agreement that reached a vote, with the exception of the ill-fated Central America Free Trade Agreement.

Clinton has already taken flack for her pick, with many fearing that this choice indicates insincerity in convention-time promises of shutting down the TPP. It is difficult to picture a Clinton Administration that is decidedly anti-trade, with U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman serving as an adviser on her transition team as well.

In Salazar’s own words, "Current rules of international commerce stack the deck against our state, but opponents of [the TPP] have responded by turning inward, clamoring to turn back the clock, and shutter ourselves from the increasingly interconnected economy." We couldn’t agree more and are eager to hear from more pro-trade voices as we roll full steam ahead into November.

Ainsley Shea