Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandUS is far from gender balance in politics despite record year for women candidates Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland being vetted by Biden team for Interior Secretary | Progressive group slams Biden White House pick over tie to fossil fuel industry | Green groups sue over Arctic drilling plans MORE (D-N.M.) said Thursday that the Biden administration will be a “breath of fresh air” compared to the Trump administration when it comes to issues like including Native American communities when making policy decisions.

Speaking at The Hill’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit, Haaland, who in 2018 became one of the two first Native American women elected to Congress, said she trusts that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenManufacturers association calls on GSA to begin transition process Biden vote tally getting close to 80 million AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion MORE will not “make decisions that affect Indian country without talking to them first.”

Haaland could soon find herself being part of that decision making process. She is seen as a top contender for secretary of the Interior, an agency that works extensively on Native American issues.

If nominated and confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet post.

She told The Hill’s Steve Clemons on Thursday that having Native American representation in public office is a key step to addressing issues affecting the community.

“I think that’s going to help make sure that our voices are heard on every level and that’s what needs to happen,” she said at the event sponsored by the International Franchise Association, the National Association of Realtors and Qualcomm. “We need representation at the table where decisions are being made so that people have a voice.”

Haaland also stressed the importance of consistent legislation that focuses on issues affecting the Native American community, such as violence against Native American women and protection of tribal lands.

“When you have an issue or crisis that’s been manifesting itself for 500 years, it’s going to take more than one or two pieces of legislation to remedy it,” she said.

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