Statement of Anthony M. Babauta
Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Murkowski, and Members of the Committee. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be here today as President Obama and Secretary Salazar's nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas at the Department of the Interior. The re-establishment of this position by the President and Secretary Salazar, after more than fifteen years of absence, has signaled re-commitment and recognition of our fellow Americans outside the lower forty-eight,
Before going any further, I would like to thank my family, especially my wife Barbara, close friends, colleagues and Members of Congress - all of whom, in various indelible ways, have made my being here possible.Since the birth of my daughter, Gabriella, who is now six and was born with some physical disabilities, I have been instilling in her one message which I would like to make a part of the record – Sweetheart you can do and be anything you want if you study earnestly, work hard, and stay focused.I believe one day she will better appreciate such guidance as well as this historic moment for our family and for all island communities.
My entry into public service is no mere coincidence or happenstance. I am a
We moved back to Guam as I entered high school and upon graduating from Father Duenas Memorial I left home to attended college at
Eleven years ago, I left the island once more to work on Capitol Hill.I began as a legislative assistant for another mentor of mine, Robert Underwood.After a year and some with Mr. Underwood, I was asked to join the Democratic staff of the House Resources Committee – which is where, under Ranking Member George Miller, and current Chairman Nick Rahall, I developed a deeper understanding of insular issues and the legislative process first as professional staff and eventually as the staff director of the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife. During my tenure, I worked directly on legislation renewing the Compact of Free Association with the
I believe that my upbringing, career experiences and genuine commitment to the insular areas afford me the requisite credentials to serve as Assistant Secretary. To the table, I bring a forward-thinking approach, cognizant of the often practical, cultural, social, and economic challenges our insular areas and their leaders face. In addition, I have earned respect among colleagues I have worked with on the Hill and with island leaders throughout the Pacific and the
If confirmed as Assistant Secretary, my commitment is to work toward improving the quality of life in the insular areas by providing the necessary leadership and insisting on measurable results.I believe in forging a new beginning for the islands. I believe that if we intend to move forward, we must reject the one-size-fits-all approach. I believe we must embrace an approach that contains real measures for policy success.
For more than a century under the American flag, the
Throughout our country's periods of peace and war,
I am confident that with the right leadership in place at the Department of the Interior, our commitment to cooperation and genuine concern for the islands and the peoples' welfare will be fortified. The tasks before us are certainly vast but never impossible. If we come together, solidify our commitment and maximize our effectiveness, we will and can move forward to improve life on our islands.If confirmed, I look forward to working with this Committee to address these challenges.