San Luis Valley native Ken Salazar was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the new ambassador to Mexico on August 16, 2021.
Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, was born in Alamosa and raised on a family ranch in the valley. That family history, spanning the 500+ years of history with what is now Mexico, New Mexico and the San Luis Valley played a role in his confirmation hearings.
Salazar’s history: “My history is deeply rooted in Mexico and the United States,” he began. “My forebearers came from Mexico and Spain in the early 1600s and settled along the banks of the Rio Grande del Norte near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following the end of the Mexican-American War, they migrated north and established the settlement of Los Rincones in the San Luis Valley. Today, we still ranch and farm the same lands along the tributaries of the Rio Grande.”
Salazar looks to create a new era of partnership between US and Mexico, “That partnership must address jobs and economic opportunity for the people of the United States and Mexico through trade, infrastructure, tourism, and investment.”
A former US Senator from Colorado (2005 to 2009), Salazar also served as the Secretary of the Interior under President Obama during his first term in office. Salazar was the first Latino elected to statewide office in Colorado when he was elected as the Colorado attorney general in 1998.
His confirmation comes at a time when the Biden administration is working with Mexico on immigration, economic, and security issues; sharing a commitment to a prosperous and secure North America. The border separating Mexico and the United States is the most frequently crossed international boundary in the world. Mexico became the United States’ largest trade partner in 2019.