|May 5, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM INSULAR AREAS ASK PRESIDENT BUSH TO REAPPOINT THE INTER-AGENCY GROUP ON INSULAR AFFAIRS (IGIA)|
| Congressman Faleomavaega
announced today that on May 1, 2003 he, Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and
Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) signed a joint letter requesting President
Bush to reappoint the Inter-agency Group on Insular Affairs (IGIA).
“As members of Congress representing the insular areas, we continue to believe that the administration should have a renewed focus on insular issues that affect American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“The insular areas have unique issues and unique circumstances and in the past the IGIA has been a valuable forum to address insular issues and to coordinate federal policy among several agencies. Certain issues, like economic development, are best addressed on a coordinated inter-agency basis. This is why in 1998 I requested that the President establish a Secretarial Commission to specifically assess the economic status of American Samoa.”
“In April of 2002, the American Samoa Economic Development Commission completed its work and its findings also supported the need for an Inter-agency Group to coordinate federal policy for the insular areas,” Faleomavaega said. “The IGIA was once co-chaired by the Special Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget. Today, we believe that a similar policy-level chair or co-chairs should be appointed and we have recommended Deputy Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs, David Cohen, to lead this effort.”
“At this time, we are hopeful that President Bush will consider our views on this most important matter. Given that May is Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage month, we are also hopeful that this will provide the President with an opportunity to recognize the insular areas by re-appointing the Inter-agency Group on Insular Affairs,” the Congressman concluded.
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