Haaland names new chief of staff

By Michael Doyle | 11/08/2021 04:03 PM EST

Rachael Taylor next week will become the Interior Department’s new chief of staff, Secretary Deb Haaland announced today. Taylor has been at the department since January, serving as principal deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget. Francis Chung/E&E News

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland today announced the departure of her chief of staff, Larry Roberts, and his replacement starting Nov. 15 by Capitol Hill veteran and current key department aide Rachael Taylor.

Taylor has served as the principal deputy assistant Interior secretary for policy, management and budget since January. Roberts is leaving to become attorney general for a Native American tribe, the agency said.

"Since day one of the Biden-Harris administration, Rachael’s expertise has been instrumental in advancing the Department’s goals while maintaining an exceptional level of interagency coordination,” Haaland said in a statement.

Taylor has often been by Haaland’s side during congressional hearings and other public appearances, stepping in with budgetary details and a firm grasp on policy minutiae.

“I am thrilled to continue serving the American people in this new role,” Taylor said in a statement, adding that “while we have made significant progress in the last several months, there’s still so much work to do on a bipartisan basis to ensure a healthy, livable planet for current and future generations.”

Before joining Interior, Taylor worked on the Senate Appropriations Committee staff for almost 16 years, including serving as the Democratic clerk for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee since 2012.

Taylor also served as a presidential management fellow at the Treasury Department and worked in Vice President Al Gore’s office during the Clinton administration.

A West Virginia native, Taylor graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and earned a Master of Public Administration from American University.

Taylor will be Haaland’s third chief of staff (Greenwire, April 1).

In April, Roberts replaced chief of staff Jennifer Van der Heide, who had run Haaland’s House office.

Van der Heide, who was named Interior chief of staff in January, became a senior counselor at Interior.

Roberts had served in the Obama administration as the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ principal deputy assistant secretary, as well as acting assistant secretary (Greenwire, April 26, 2017).

Roberts, an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, joined the firm Jenner & Block in 2020 as special counsel for its Native American law team. He previously worked at the firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and at the National Indian Gaming Commission.