WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has named Douglas W. Domenech to be Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs. Domenech, who currently serves as Secretary Kempthorne's Deputy Chief of Staff, will provide policy-level leadership for Insular Affairs, a position that had been held by David Cohen, who resigned in January 2008 to pursue opportunities in the private sector. "I have full confidence in Doug, whose commitment to this Administration, management expertise, background and knowledge will be invaluable in carrying out our responsibilities for the U.S. territories and freely associated states, " Kempthorne said. "I am honored to be given this assignment," said Domenech, who will serve in both capacities.
"This is an indication that Secretary Kempthorne cares deeply about the welfare of the insular areas and wants island issues handled directly in his immediate office." Domenech, who joined the Bush Administration in July 2001, previously served as Interior's Deputy Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs. From 2002 to 2006 he served as White House Liaison to the Interior Department before being promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff. Domenech, who was born in the United States, is of Puerto Rican descent and lived in the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Puerto Rico as a child. He has a degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management from Virginia Tech and worked on national and state natural resource issues for 15 years prior to his appointment.
Among his duties at the Department, Domenech represents the Secretary on the Advisory Board of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, and often travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands on Interior business. He also represents the Department on the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico Status and on the U.S. delegation to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. "I look forward to working with Nik Pula and his fine team in the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA)," Domenech said. "Secretary Kempthorne's appointment of Doug Domenech to Insular Affairs is indicative of the Secretary's strong interest and support of issues affecting the U.S.-affiliated areas," said Nik Pula, OIA Director. "I know this will be welcomed by the leaders and the people of the islands." Pula also thanked Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett and Associate Deputy Secretary James Cason for their support of the Secretary on island issues. "We are very happy to work with Doug who is a familiar face in the OIA corridor. His enthusiasm, experience and energy will be a great asset to our office as we continue forward," said Pula.