Salazar Applauds President Obama's Intent to Nominate Tony Babauta as Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised President Obama's announcement that he intends to nominate Tony Babauta as Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas. The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

Babauta is now a senior advisor to the Secretary and previously served as the staff director for the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife in the United States House of Representatives.

“Tony's vast experience and his familiarity with both the people and the policies of the U.S. territories and other U.S.-affiliated island nations make him an excellent choice for the position of Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas,” Secretary Salazar said. “As a native of Guam, Tony will be the first person in this position to hail from any one of our U.S. territories. The Department looks forward to the outstanding leadership he will provide.”

In his congressional position, he advised the full Natural Resources Committee on policies affecting the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as well as the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Babauta was instrumental in advancing the renegotiated compact with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Guam war claims legislation, and the political advancement of Puerto Rico. He also oversaw the subcommittee's jurisdiction and responsibilities toward the Department of the Interior. Babauta has maintained close working relationships with island leaders who include presidents, governors and ambassadors.

Babauta joined the Natural Resources Committee in 1998 as professional staff under its then-ranking Member, Rep. George Miller. His service to the committee continued under then Ranking Member and now chairman, Rep. Nick Rahall.

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