Gale A. Norton
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas
Norton has been Secretary of the Interior since 2001. She earned a B.A. in 1975, and a law degree in 1978, both from the University of Denver. From 1979 to 1983 Norton worked at the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a conservative, pro-development think-tank often at odds with environmentalists. Between 1985 and 1987 she worked at the interior department. From 1991 to 1999 she served as Colorado Attorney General, prosecuting tobacco companies and defending the state's Amendment 2, which denied gays legal protection against discrimination, saying it conferred “special rights.” Norton also forced the federal government to adequately clean up hazardous waste at Rocky Flats and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and fought in court to protect the right of private citizens to sue for damages caused by hazardous waste. In 1996 Norton ran for a U.S. senate seat in Colorado, but was defeated in the Republican primary. In addition, she has headed Republican Environmental Advocates, which urges free-market solutions rather than government regulations to solve environmental problems. Norton is married to her second husband, John, and has no children.