David Longly Bernhardt (born August 17, 1969) is an American attorney, lobbyist and government administrator who serves as Acting United States Secretary of the Interior. A partner and shareholder at the Colorado law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, he began working for the United States Department of the Interior in 2001, and served as the department's solicitor from 2006 to 2009, among other roles.
On April 28, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated him to be the United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2017. He was then sworn into office on August 1, 2017. He became Acting Secretary of the Interior on January 2, 2019, replacing Ryan Zinke.
Early life and education
Growing up in Rifle, Colorado, Bernhardt was active in Colorado politics from the age of sixteen, when he made his case to the Rifle City Council to not levy taxes on arcade games at a teen center he was starting in his hometown. He earned his bachelor's degreefrom the University of Northern Colorado in 1990. While at the University of Northern Colorado, he applied for and received an internship at the Supreme Court of the United States. He graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School in 1994. He was admitted to the Colorado Bar Association later that year.