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Revived Insular Affairs post lauded

By Andrew De Guzman

SAIPAN, CNMI (Mariana Variety, July 28, 2009) - The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Senate yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution supporting President Obama’s nomination of Anthony Marion Babauta as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs.

"It would be in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ best interest to have a person from the islands with the knowledge of the various islands’ issues to oversee such responsibility by the Department of the Interior," reads Senate Resolution 16-42, that Senate President Pete P. Reyes introduced.

Obama nominated Babauta last July 6.

"President Obama’s reestablishment of this position at the Assistant Secretary level for the first time since the Clinton administration demonstrates a renewed focus and commitment to attend to the needs of the U.S. insular areas at the highest levels in government," the resolution further reads.

Babauta, a native of Guam, began his career in the Guam Legislature. Since then, Babauta has provided professional advice to various agencies and offices in Washington, D.C.

In 2007, Babauta was appointed Staff Director for the reconstituted Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife until May 2009.

"He was instrumental in the passage of legislation giving the people of the Northern Marianas a voice in Congress, the only other U. S. citizens who were not represented in the U.S. House of Representatives," the resolution adds.

The Senate through the same resolution also encourages CNMI Congressman Gregorio "Kilili" Camacho Sablan "to speak with members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and advocate for Mr. Babauta’s swift confirmation."


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