Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined Governors and Congressional representatives from each of the U.S. Insular Areas at the annual meeting of the Interagency Group on Insular Affairs (IGIA), hosted by the Department of the Interior, to discuss how the Obama Administration can support Insular Area governments' efforts to grow their economies, create jobs, increase skills training and improve education.
The IGIA 2014 Senior Plenary Session, co-chaired by Secretary Jewell and White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew, focused on a wide range of challenges facing island territories and provided an opportunity for further discussion on initiatives meant to strengthen energy, health systems and tourism marketing in the insular areas. The island governors were also in Washington to attend the annual National Governors' Conference, and the Western Governors Breakfast.
"The Obama Administration knows that engagement with the elected leaders of the governments of U.S. Insular Areas is one of the most important intergovernmental relationships we have as a nation," Secretary Jewell told island leaders. "The federal family is committed to working collaboratively with the islands' Chief Executives, Members of Congress, and other elected officials to carry out the initiatives needed to improve the lives of our fellow Americans living in American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands."
The IGIA meeting seeks to showcase the work of the various federal agencies in the Territories, further builds on interagency collaboration and efforts spearheaded by the Department of the Interior, through its Office of Insular Affairs, and helps to facilitate dialogue on critical policy issues identified by the insular area Governors and Delegates.
Island leaders participating in today's discussions include US Virgin Islands Congresswoman Donna Christensen; Governor of Guam Eddie Calvo; Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo; Governor of Northern Marianas Eloy Inos; Northern Marianas Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan. The American Samoa's Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale attended on behalf of Governor Lolo Moliga, who fell ill while in Washington. Chief Counsel Fili Sagapolutele from the Office of American Samoa Congressman Eni Faleomavaega also represented the Congressman.