Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation: Who is Mike Connor?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Heading up the federal government’s key agency for managing water resources is Michael L. Connor, a lawyer who has spent most of his career in Washington, DC, quietly working for the Senate and the Department of the Interior during the Clinton administration.

A native of New Mexico, Connor, 45, attended Las Cruces Public Schools and graduated from Las Cruces High School. He received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from New Mexico State University and his JD from the University of Colorado’s School of Law. He was admitted to the bars of Colorado and New Mexico. 
Connor worked for General Electric before joining the Interior Department through its Solicitor’s Honors Program in 1993. After working in the Interior Solicitor’s Office in Washington, DC, and Albuquerque, NM, Connor served as a deputy director within the Interior Department. Beginning in 1998, he served as deputy director and then director of the Indian Water Rights Office, representing the Secretary of the Interior in negotiations with Indian tribes, state representatives, and private water users to secure water rights settlements consistent with the federal trust responsibility to tribes. 
In May 2001, he joined the staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as legal counsel, directing the committee’s water and power subcommittee, managing legislation for both the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Geological Survey, developing water resources legislation and handling Native American issues.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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