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The official portrait for former Secretary Ryan Zinke was unveiled at the Department of Interior in Washington, DC on Tuesday night. Zinke, a former Montana congressman, state senator, and 23 year veteran Navy SEAL who served as a commander at SEAL Team 6, was President Trump's first Interior Secretary.

Bitteroot Valley, Montana artist Brent Cotton was selected for the official portrait. Here's how he describes the portrait:

The background is the Bear's Ears monument in Utah. I used photographic reference provided by the official photographer of the DOI and a healthy amount of artistic license thrown in as well.

There are symbolic elements sprinkled throughout, including his SEAL Team 6 patch on his left shoulder, the park police insignia on the horse's breast collar.  A nod to his respect of the native Americans tribes is depicted in the hat band.  The wildflowers in the foreground are meant to symbolize his wife, kids, and two granddaughters.


It was a fun piece to do and hopefully will be well received by all.

Cotton grew up on a ranch in Idaho, and now maintains his studio in Stevensville, Montana.

Brent's work has garnered several national awards including the prestigious "Arts for the Parks top 100" in both 1997 and in 2003, where his painting "Evensong" won both the "People's Choice" and "Region 3" awards.  Brent was also the very first recipient of the "CM Russell Museum CEO Award" at the annual CM Russell Art Auction in Montana. He was recently invited to participate in the prestigious "Prix de West" Invitational show in Oklahoma City, a lifelong goal for him.

*Additional note: This is in Wednesday AM's Politico Playbook:

SPOTTED at the portrait unveiling for former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at DOI headquarters Tuesday night (pic of the portrait): Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Candy Carson, Kate MacGregor, Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Scott Hommel, Tommy Hicks, Heather Swift, Faith Vander Voort, Ben Goldey and Cole Rojewski.


Credit Brent Cotton
Credit Brent Cotton



Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Discusses Wildfires In The West
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

He was a strong backer of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as Montana's congressman. And he got the ball rolling on historic conservation and infrastructure investments as President Trump's Secretary of the Interior.

Needless to say, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was very pleased to see passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in the US Senate. Zinke credited Montana Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) for getting the bill through the Senate.

Zinke: This should be a national priority because our parks, the system itself, our wildlife refuges, our forest service lands- they're the envy of the world. I'm just so thrilled that this effort went forward....Steve Daines and I, we've battled for LWCF.


Zinke also credited the bipartisan work on the legislation, calling it a "red, white, and blue bill."

Full audio with former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Montana Talks with Aaron Flint:


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