An Alaska Native who has been nominated by President Trump to head the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs passed her final committee vote Wednesday, setting the stage for her Senate confirmation.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office said Tara Sweeney, a former Alaska Federation of Natives co-chair who has held senior positions at the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and formerly chaired the Arctic Economic Council, was approved by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on a voice vote Wednesday.

Sweeney spoke before the committee during a hearing on May 9, describing the effects of the pioneering Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act on her upbringing.

Murkowski, speaking in favor of Sweeney’s advancement Wednesday, said that “she has been reminded through questions that were posed by many on this committee that this position is difficult and it is – it’s hard.”

“I believe that if anybody’s up to this hard and this difficult task it is Tara Sweeney,” Murkowski said. “She comes with extraordinary background – not just as a leader for Alaska Native issues, but her leadership within the Arctic Economic Council.”

“With Tara’s long history of advocating for Alaska Native cultural values, rights, and economic opportunity, I can’t think of anyone better – or more qualified – for this critical role within the Department of Interior,” Sullivan said. “I thank the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, both Republicans and Democrats, for coming together to overwhelmingly advance Tara’s confirmation and look forward to her swift confirmation before the full Senate.”

With Wednesday’s vote, Sweeney now heads to the full Senate for final confirmation. If she is confirmed, Sweeney will be the first Alaska Native to hold the post.

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