The Secretary also announced the appointment of Basil C. Ottley, Jr. as a new USVI desk officer at the Office of Insular Affairs for the Virgin Islands. Before his appointment, Ottley served as a member of the USVI Senate. Secretary Kempthorne was accompanied in all meetings by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Doug Domenech.
Kempthorne, who has made a priority of improving healthcare in the U.S. affiliated island communities, visited and met with medical professionals at Juan Luis Hospital on St. Croix and Roy Lester Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas.
Additionally, Kempthorne, who oversees the National Park Service, visited Virgin Islands National Park, Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Christiansted National Historical Site and viewed Buck Island Reef National Monument from the air. He also toured the Concordia Preserve and Maho Bay Camps, both eco-friendly and largely energy-self-sufficient camping facilities adjacent to Virgin Islands National Park. Kempthorne oversees millions of acres of federal recreation lands across the United States.
Joining the Secretary at the Univ. of the Virgin Islands (UVI) fitness center on St. Thomas were Dr. LaVerne Ragster, President of UVI and Peter Sauer, Athletic Director.
As the head of the Department of the Interior, the Secretary has significant oversight responsibility for the USVI and other U.S. territories and also for all national parks. Kempthorne is responsible for overall coordination of federal policy for the U.S. insular areas, advocating for the islands within the Federal Government, overseeing the distribution of appropriated funds for island territories, and administering U.S. financial assistance for the freely associated states.
In June 2007, Secretary Kempthorne visited the U.S. territories of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam and American Samoa and the freely associated states of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.