Norm Dicks 'not interested' in possible Interior post

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks is not interested in becoming secretary of the interior, said his spokesman, George Behan.

Responding to a Peninsula Daily News inquiry following an NBC News report Friday that the retiring congressman is on a short list for a Cabinet appointment should current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar step down, Behan said about Dicks:

"He's flattered by it but is not intending to be Interior secretary.

"He just completed his public service career. He's turning the page."

Dicks is retiring at the end of this year after 18 terms in Washington. He is being succeeded by Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, a former state senator who was elected in November.

Behan said Dicks' 36 years on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee made Dicks' name a source of speculation.

There has been no official inquiry from the White House about his availability, Behan added.

"This is just speculation in the press," he said.

That speculation was fueled Friday afternoon by a report from NBC News that Dicks and departing Gov. Chris Gregoire are under consideration, along with North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, also a Democrat.

There are numerous reports out of Washington, D.C., that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar may be leaving his post at the beginning of the second Obama term.

Since obtaining the North Olympic Peninsula in his congressional district in a 1992 redistricting move, Dicks has overseen the funding and demolition of the Elwha River dams, which have been under the jurisdiction of the Interior Department via Olympic National Park for more than a decade.

Gregoire, before she was elected governor and, before that, state attorney general, was director of the state Department of Ecology.