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James G. Watt

From Academic Kids

James Gaius Watt (born January 31, 1938) served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1983.

He is remembered chiefly for his hostility to environmentalism and his support of the development and use of federal lands by foresting, ranching, and other commercial interests. He was made to resign as a result of a controversy that arose because he told an ethnic joke.

In 1995, Watt was indicted on 18 counts of felony perjury and obstruction of justice by a federal grand jury. The indictments were due to false statements made to a grand jury investigating influence peddling at the Department of Housing and Urban Development where he had been a lobbyist in the mid to late 1980s. On January 2, 1996, as part of a plea bargain, Watt pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of withholding documents from a federal grand jury. On March 12, 1996 he was sentenced to 5 years probation and forced to pay a $5000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. [1] (http://www.cnn.com/US/Newsbriefs/9603/03-12/index.html)

Quotes

"That is the delicate balance the Secretary of the Interior must have: to be steward for the natural resources for this generation as well as future generations. I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations." -- James G. Watt, testimony before the House Interior Committee, February 1981

"We don't have to protect the environment, the Second Coming is at hand." -- interpretation of the above testimony by Austin Miles, Setting the Captives Free

"My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns." -- James G. Watt, The Washington Post, May 24, 1981

"I never use the words Democrats and Republicans. It's liberals and Americans." -- James G. Watt, 1982

"We have every mixture you can have. I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent." -- James G. Watt, describing his staff to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on September 21, 1983; this comment led directly to his forced resignation; quoted from Bartlett's Online


Preceded by:
Cecil D. Andrus
U.S. Secretary of the Interior
1981–1983
Succeeded by:
William Patrick Clark

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