The White House Has a Powerful New Advocate for Healthy Living

Sally Jewell, Obama's pick for Secretary of Interior, is a former CEO of REI.

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Reuters

Today, President Obama appointed Sally Jewell, the CEO of outdoor equipment mega co-op REI, as his new Secretary of the Interior Department. And from what we can tell she's going to be the fittest person hanging around the White House — easily. Forget Ken Salazar; watch out, Michelle.

The First Lady carved a lane for herself promoting healthy living and regular exercise, and became one of the most popular names in politics along the way. If not in day-by-day policy, she'll at least have a kindred spirit in Jewell, who said she starts every day with a workout in a March interview with the Seattle Business Magazine. And sometimes, on weekends, she'll hike mountains for the fun of it. "On [a recent] Saturday, with my husband and dog, I climbed Grand Prospect [on Rattlesnake Mountain]. It feels so nice to get a little mud on your feet, a little mist in your face," she said

Or, alternatively, sometimes in interviews she'll mention in passing that she's returning from a four week "sabbatical/climbing trip in Antarctica," like she did when speaking to Forbes in May 2011. But what else would you expect from someone who has spent the last decade working at REI, the constantly growing outdoor equipment giant that competes with Northface and Colombia. If Jewell can handle spending four weeks climbing in Antarctica, Washington should be a cake walk. Right? Well, Salazar faced his fair share of problems, but if she passes confirmation she'll be one of the least boring interior secretaries, well, ever.

Of course, she's got the business bonafides to justify the hiring. She joined REI in 2000 as COO, the same year the company suffered its first losses — like, ever. She later assumed the roll of CEO, and navigated the company through the recession while maintaining profitability. Before that, she was the head of Washington Mutual's commercial banking division. And before that, she spent a few years working as an engineer for Mobil Oil.

Top image: President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Sally Jewell, CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc., to Interior Secretary at the White House in Washington. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

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