April 27, 2002 – David B. Cohen has been named deputy assistant secretary for insular affairs in the U.S. Interior Department.
The Office of Insular Affairs is the White House liaison with the nation's territories — the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. The office also works with three areas that have free associate status — the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.
Cohen's appointment was announced this week. As deputy assistant secretary, he will advise Interior Secretary Gale Norton on operational and administrative matters involving federal policy in the insular areas. Norton said the position was just upgraded from director to deputy assistant secretary to "demonstrate our strong commitment to resolving the tremendous, long-standing economic and infrastructure challenges facing the insular areas."
An attorney of Samoan descent, Cohen is a partner in the corporate and banking department of the law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in Los Angeles. His background includes representing lenders and developers in project financing and working in municipal bond financing, on numerous projects involving international and domestic power, on immigration issues in California and on minimum wage issues for American Samoa.
He serves on the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders but must resign that position in order to assume the Interior job.
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