Ryan Zinke (President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Interior secretary) was born and raised in Montana. He was a star athlete at Whitefish High School and accepted a football scholarship to the University of Oregon.
He earned a B.S. in geology in 1984 and an M.B.A. from National University in 1991. He went on to receive an M.S. in global leadership from the University of San Diego in 2003.
Zinke joined the elite Navy SEALs in 1986, retiring as a commander in 2008. In 2004, Zinke was named the deputy and acting commander of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula. In this capacity, he led a force of more than 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq. Zinke was awarded several top honors for his service, including two Bronze Stars for meritorious service in a combat zone.
Retired from active duty in 2008
He was later selected to establish the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command, where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school until his retirement from active duty in 2008.
Zinke was elected to the Montana Senate in 2008, serving from 2009 to 2011. When he served in the state senate, he “was widely seen as a moderate Republican,” but subsequently drifted to the right.
Elected to House in 2014
Zinke was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. There, he has supported the deployment of U.S. ground troops to combat Islamic State, “abandoning” the Affordable Care Act, and cutting regulations.
He “frequently votes against environmentalists on issues ranging from coal extraction to oil and gas drilling,” according to the League of Conservation Voters,which says his voting record places him at the bottom of its rankings of members of Congress.