The interests of U.S. citizens living in the territories will receive a boost in the White House, with President Joe Biden bringing on Gretchen Sierra Zorita to serve as deputy director for Puerto Rico and the Territories in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
In taking up this role, Sierra Zorita is stepping down from her position on the board of directors for Equally American, which advocates for equality and representation for the 3.5 million citizens living in U.S. territories.
“The creation of this new position in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs represents a significant shift toward inclusion and equality for citizens of the territories,” said Neil Weare, president and founder of Equally American. “President Biden has made an excellent choice—having someone of Gretchen’s knowledge and expertise in the White House will be a gamechanger for Puerto Rico and the territories.”
Sierra Zorita is a leading thought leader on federal issues that impact Puerto Rico and other territories. She has worked to bring attention in Washington, D.C. to issues affecting Puerto Ricans on both the island and the U.S. mainland, and to draw connections between issues each of the territories face in common.
In addition to her service on the board of Equally American, Sierra Zorita has served leading roles with the National Puerto Rican Agenda, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda Puerto Rico Working Group, Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. Prior government service includes roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the White House Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Government and Accountability Office, and the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Census and Population.
“We are excited for Gretchen as she takes on this important new role coordinating territorial policy at the White House,” Weare added. “She has been an indispensable contributor to the work of Equally American through her board service over the last three years. We could not be more proud of Gretchen, and look forward to working with her in her new role.” (PR)