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PALAU’S ANGAUR STATE SWEARS IN FEMALE GOVERNOR Gates-Meltel wants officials to work together

By Jose Señase - For Variety

KOROR, Palau (Marianas Variety, Jan. 7, 2011 — Maria Gates-Meltel was sworn in as the new governor of Angaur at the Palau Supreme Court on New Year’s Day.

Gates-Meltel took her oath of office before Senior Judge Quay Polloi in a ceremony attended by other officials, family members and supporters.

Palau President Johnson Toribiong, Vice President Kerai Mariur, Sen. Paul Ueki, Sen. Kathy Kesolei, Angaur Delegate Horace Rafael, Minister of State Victor Yano and former Ngaremlengui Gov. John Skebong joined high chiefs, state legislators and other dignitaries who witnessed the ceremony.

In her inaugural speech, Gates-Meltel stressed the need for elected officials to work together for the benefit of their constituents.

"We need to put politics aside and come and work together to further develop and improve our state," she said.

Angaur or Ngeaur is an island in the Republic of Palau. The state has an area of 3 square miles. Its capital is the village of Ngaramasch on the island’s western side.

Angaur is located southwest of Peleliu, and is a popular surfing location. It is accessible by boats and small planes. The eastern side of the island is mostly sandy with rocky outcroppings, while the western side has a small lagoon with a small fishing and transportation port.

Gates-Meltel said her priorities include the creation of a master plan for the state, the development of programs to enhance economic growth, preserve the local culture and environment, promote and support education and youth programs, community services, senior citizens, seek grant for state projects and ensure transparency and accountability in government.

During the same ceremony, the five members of the Angaur State Legislature were also sworn in: Flavin Misech, Joshua Lewis, Leon Gulibert, Warren Fukuichi and Carlos Ramon.

Gates-Meltel defeated then-incumbent Steven Salii and Natus Misech to become the eighth governor of Angaur.

Gates-Meltel is a former member of the state legislature.

She is the daughter of Ngiraked Gates and Tongko Mekui-Gates and is married to Jack Meltel with whom she has three sons.

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