Born on his family’s homestead near Kintyre, ND in 1919, Thomas S. Kleppe became the first native North Dakotan to serve in a presidential cabinet. Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, Kleppe served as secretary of the Interior Department until this day, January 20, 1977.
During his 15 month tenure, Kleppe approved the sale of oil and gas drilling rights off the coast of Southern California; announced a ban on lead pellets used in shotgun shells for hunting waterfowl; and blocked the construction of a hydroelectric dam in North Carolina in order to preserve the scenic mountain waterway and hundreds of residential homes.
According to former President George Bush, a close friend and honorary pallbearer at Kleppe’s funeral in 2007, “…he represented the best in public service. He loved North Dakota and he loved his country.”
Dakota Datebook written by Christina Sunwall
The Bismarck Tribune- http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2007/03/06/news/local/129880.txt
National Homestead Monument of America- http://www.nps.gov/home/historyculture/upload/MW,pdf,KleppeBio,b.pdf
The Washington Post-