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Interior’s Zinke applauds US Senate confirmation of Doug Domenech as assistant secretary for insular areas

WASHINGTON (Press Release) — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke applauded the U.S. 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 and will be sworn-in in the coming days. President Donald Trump nominated him in June.

“I am excited to officially welcome Doug back to the department to lead the administration’s initiatives in the insular areas,” said Secretary Zinke. “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. I would also like to thank Nik Pula, who now 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. It is critically important that our neighbors and fellow Americans feel confident that we in the federal government can help address these challenges. I look forward to working with leadership from each of these islands to find innovative solutions to the challenges we all face together.”

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke received Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, in an issue-packed visit at the U.S. Department of the Interior. They discussed many topics and concerns, such as deteriorating infrastructure and security in the Pacific.  Zinke also expressed an interest in working more closely with the Marshall Islands to better understand fishing issues in the Pacific and how to protect U.S. vessels fishing in the Pacific. President Heine was accompanied by Marshalls Ambassador to the U.S. Gerald Zackios, Sen. Jack Ading from Enewetak, Sen. Jack Alvin Jacklick from Kwajalein, Press Secretary Denise de Brum Reiher, and Greg Danz, Esq.  The Interior secretary was accompanied by newly confirmed Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs Nik Pula and principal staff Fred Nysta and Joseph McDermott.  U.S. Department of the Interior photoU.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke received Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, in an issue-packed visit at the U.S. Department of the Interior. They discussed many topics and concerns, such as deteriorating infrastructure and security in the Pacific. Zinke also expressed an interest in working more closely with the Marshall Islands to better understand fishing issues in the Pacific and how to protect U.S. vessels fishing in the Pacific. President Heine was accompanied by Marshalls Ambassador to the U.S. Gerald Zackios, Sen. Jack Ading from Enewetak, Sen. Jack Alvin Jacklick from Kwajalein, Press Secretary Denise de Brum Reiher, and Greg Danz, Esq. The Interior secretary was accompanied by newly confirmed Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs Nik Pula and principal staff Fred Nysta and Joseph McDermott. U.S. Department of the Interior photo

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 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 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, whose family is from Puerto Rico, holds a BS in Forestry and Wildlife Management from Virginia Tech University and currently serves as Senior Advisor to Interior Secretary Zinke. Previously, he served as the Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia overseeing six state environmental, recreation, and historic resource agencies. During the George W. Bush Administration, Domenech served as White House Liaison and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretaries Norton and Kempthorne. In addition, he served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas. Domenech currently serves as the Secretary’s appointee to the Advisory Council of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.

In a separate statement, U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam issued the following statement:

“I congratulate Doug Domenech on his confirmation to be the assistant secretary for insular areas. 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 Secretary Zinke to visit Guam to understand these challenges firsthand. I look forward to his leadership at the Office of Insular Affairs and working with him to bring greater attention to Guam’s issues before the Trump administration.”