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Tony Babauta

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NAME: Tony Babauta
RACE: Congressional Delegate
PARTY:  Democrat
VILLAGE: Agat
CONTACT:  Sonny Orsini (CM)/ Isa Koki (T)
BIO:

Anthony Babauta served as President Barack Obama’s Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas, U.S. Department of the Interior, from September 2009 to February 2013.  In this position, he oversaw the federal administration of the United States territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. His responsibilities also included the financial and political oversight of the Compacts of Free Association relationship between U.S. and the countries of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau (FAS) .

While Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Babauta was also chosen to serve on the President’s White House Task Force on Puerto Rico, the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and the President’s Interagency Task Force and the Senior Policy Operating Group on Anti-trafficking in Persons.  In addition, Mr. Babauta was instrumental in the Presidential Executive Order (EO 13537) re-establishing and elevating the Interagency Group on Insular Areas, which he co-chaired, on behalf of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, with the White House’s Director of Intergovernmental Relations.

During his tenure, former Assistant Secretary Babauta sought to implement an aggressive agenda to create new economic opportunities, foster transparency in local governments, improve island infrastructure, and support non-profit organizations.

Prior to being nominated by President Obama in 2009, Mr. Babauta had worked for twelve years as professional staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee under Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) and later Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV).  For two of his twelve years, he served as staff director for the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife.  During his years on Capitol Hill, he earned a reputation as an expert on insular issues, a consensus builder, negotiator, and problem solver.  

Some of his notable accomplishments include working towards the passage of legislation advancing a process to determine Puerto Rico’s future political status, the creation of the Guam War Claims Review Commission, the establishment of a chief fiscal officer for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the approval of the renegotiated Compacts between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of

Micronesia with the U.S., the extension of U.S. immigration laws to the Northern Mariana Islands, and the expansion of the Guam Visa Waiver program to include the Northern Mariana Islands and the inclusion of Russia and China within the program.  He also led several Congressional Staff Delegation trips to the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific region.

Throughout Mr. Babauta’s career in public service, he has developed strong and extensive relationships throughout the Asia-Pacific and Caribbean regions.  In addition to interfacing with local government leaders, he established relationships with leading private sector businesses, community leaders, U.S. military leaders, US Embassy officials in the Pacific, and non-profit organizations.

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