Director, Public Lands
Expertise: Public lands, energy and environmental policy
Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Public Lands at American Progress, focusing on energy, environment, and public lands.
Prior to joining American Progress, Lee-Ashley served as deputy chief of staff at the Department of the Interior, overseeing policy, external, communications, and legislative matters on behalf of Secretary Ken Salazar. In 2010 Lee-Ashley was named the Interior Department’s communications director during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, leading the department’s communications response to the crisis and helping undertake the aggressive offshore oil and gas reform agenda of the Obama administration. Lee-Ashley also led an update to the department’s communications policy to provide the first-ever protections of scientific integrity, helped formulate and implement the administration’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, and advised Secretary Salazar on a wide range of land management and energy issues.
From 2005 to 2008 Lee-Ashley worked in the U.S. Senate for then-Sen. Salazar (D-CO), handling military, veterans affairs, and energy and environment policy. In 2008 Lee-Ashley was promoted to serve as the senator’s communications director and chief speechwriter.
A native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lee-Ashley graduated summa cum laude from Pomona College in Claremont, California, in 2004.