WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has applauded the Senate’s confirmation of Interior Department veteran Douglas William Domenech as assistant secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas.
Domenech was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last Friday and will be sworn-in in the coming days. President Trump nominated him in June.
In a statement yesterday, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres congratulated Domenech on his confirmation and thanked Nik Pula, whom he described as “a long time friend” and partner of the Northern Mariana Islands and territories, for serving as the acting assistant secretary for Insular Affairs.
“Doug has wide ranging and notable experience with the U.S. Insular Areas and brings with him the understanding of the many unique issues facing our islands and has specific understanding of the people and culture of the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Torres. “It is one of the many reasons why I wrote to President Trump, endorsing his nomination in June.”
Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU) also sent Domenech her congratulations. “I had an opportunity meet with Mr. Domenech following his nomination to discuss the unique challenges that face Guam and the other U.S. territories. I appreciated his commitment to working with me to address these challenges, especially Compact impact, cultural preservation, economic development, and infrastructure improvements, and I invited him and [Zinke]to visit Guam to understand these challenges firsthand.”
Zinke said he is excited “to officially welcome Doug back to the department to lead the administration’s initiatives in the insular areas.
“Doug’s confirmation could not come soon enough for the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico who are rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Irma. I’m excited to put him to work for them and all our brothers and sisters across the insular areas.
Pula resumes his duties as the director of Insular Affairs for his time and service as the acting assistant secretary for Insular Areas.”
“It is a great responsibility and honor to accept this important position which helps bridge the distance and raise awareness about the insular areas to decision makers in Washington, D.C.” said Domenech. “Islands governments face the basic challenge of higher costs and limited resources as they serve the people. Recent catastrophic events surrounding Hurricane Irma only heighten these challenges.”
The Office of the Assistant Secretary Insular Areas coordinates federal policy for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the CNMI. In addition, the Office is responsible for administering and overseeing U.S. Compact grant assistance to the freely associated states of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.
Domenech’s family is from Puerto Rico.
His nomination was endorsed by four governors of the U.S. territories: U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp, American Samoa Gov. Lolo Moliga, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, and Torres. (PR)