Washington, D.C.– Early on Wednesday, the Senate approved President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Congressman and former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke with a final vote of 68-31. After the Senate’s vote, Rep. Zinke announced his formal resignation from Congress. Ryan Zinke was later sworn in as the 52nd Secretary of the Interior. Below is a statement from now Secretary Zinke after he resigned as Montana Congressman:

Today it is with a heavy but optimistic heart that I resign from my position as the Congressman for Montana. I’m resigning not because I do not wish to serve Montana, but rather it is to accept the role of Secretary of the Department of the Interior and serve Montana at a higher level.

First, I want to say thank you to the people of Montana. It has been an honor to serve you in Congress, and I appreciate the faith and trust you put in me to represent your values, interests, and priorities. It was my privilege to sit at your kitchen tables and in your schools to talk about problems we face and the solutions to tackle those issues. Perhaps no issues were more important to me personally than looking out for our troops, respecting sovereignty of the Tribes, and maintaining access to our public lands.

As your Congressman, I always looked to you for guidance and it was with your resounding support that I actively fought to keep our public lands public. I consistently bucked party leadership and voiced my opinions loud and clear in the House Committee on Natural Resources, and I voted at every turn to oppose the sale and transfer of our public lands. I assure you that I will continue fighting for our public lands as I serve Montana and the American people in the Department of the Interior.

Soon I will take my fourth oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I am humbled that President Trump has given me the opportunity to continue my service to our great nation. However, I also promise that I will not be a stranger to Montana. I will always remember my roots. And I hope to continue hearing from Montanans.

Thank you again for your faith in me and God bless.”

Featured image courtesy of Getty