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Presidential Lecture Series to Features Former DOI Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta


Presidential Lecture Series Features Former DOI Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta

The twenty-first speaker in the University of Guam Presidential Lecture Series was the Honorable Anthony “Tony” M. Babauta, Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.  His lecture, entitled "Federal Policy Making In the Nation's Capitol - An Agat Boy's Perspective," was held on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at the UOG College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS) Lecture Hall. His lecture, entitled "Federal Policy Making In the Nation's Capitol - An Agat Boy's Perspective," is now available online at: http://youtu.be/92-rC6X-4yc

“It’s a great opportunity for our students and the University community to hear from someone who has advocated for Guam in the highest levels of the Obama administration,” said UOG President, Dr. Robert Underwood.

His lecture, entitled "Federal Policy Making In the Nation's Capitol - An Agat Boy's Perspective," is now available online at: http://youtu.be/92-rC6X-4yc

 While at UOG, Babauta will also be visiting and guest speaking in classes.  For more information, contact Louise Toves at 735-2995 or email lmtoves@uguam.uog.edu.



Bio information
Honorable Anthony M. Babauta,
Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs,
U.S. Department of the Interior

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.

Initiative Highlights - 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.

Insular Plan for Alternative and Renewable Energy (IPARE) – Begun early in 2010, IPARE is a successful comprehensive effort, which has resulted in each U.S. Pacific territory adopting a plan to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase efficiencies and the integration of renewable/indigenous and alternative fuel sources.  Mr. Babauta further extended the IPARE program to the FAS in November 2012.

Insular Assessment of Buildings and Classrooms (Insular ABC’s) – Initiated in 2010, Insular ABC’s was created to conduct a baseline inventory and deferred maintenance assessment of 125 public elementary, middle and high schools comprising of approximately 1,600 buildings in all U.S. territories (except Puerto Rico).

Economic Data for Insular Areas – Mr. Babauta entered into an interagency agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Burea of Economic Analysis (BEA) to establish a program within the BEA, which would report on insular economic data.  The collection and reporting of the data, is analyzed using the same or similar metrics in comparison to a State, and is the first reporting by the BEA on any U.S. territory in the history of the Nation.

As Assistant Secretary, Mr. Babauta also increased the focus of funding under his authority to improve water and waster systems, increase the delivery of public services by island governments, ensure availability of emergency vehicles and equipment to provide for safer communities, and preserve island cultures, languages, and arts.  In addition, he worked to facilitate stakeholder interests to establish a US-Caribbean energy grid, played a principal role in U.S. renegotiations with the Republic of Palau on expiring financial provisions of its Compact of Free Association agreement, increased private sector employment in the CNMI, supported the establishment of the Salt River Bay marine Research and Education Center, funded the sole public Fale in American Samoa, led interagency efforts to address concerns raised by Guam as a principal locale for the realignment of U.S. forces in the Pacific theater and to implement the normalization of U.S. immigration law to the CNMI.

U.S. House of Representatives

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 Asia/Pacific, and non-profit organizations.


B.A. in Communications, Gonzaga University – Spokane, WA.