Chair Grijalva, Vice Chair Sablan Hail White House Announcement of Gretchen Sierra Zorita as Associate Director for Puerto Rico and Territories

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Vice Chair Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI) today praised President Biden’s hiring of Gretchen Sierra Zorita to the newly created position of White House Associate Director for Puerto Rico and Territories, which will coordinate with Congress to better address longstanding issues of importance to the millions of citizens and nationals living in U.S. territories.

“The Biden administration’s choice to create this position and staff it with such an experienced, knowledgeable leader is admirable and deserves our heartfelt thanks,” Grijalva said. “The executive branch can improve the lives of millions of U.S. citizens and nationals living in the territories by expanding access to federal programs that already benefit other Americans, helping to resolve Puerto Rico’s political status, and strengthening meaningful political representation. The Biden administration understands that we can’t claim to live up to American ideals as long as we treat millions of people as second-class citizens, and I look forward to working closely with Ms. Sierra Zorita to address these issues as soon as possible.”

“President Biden’s decision to appoint an Associate Director in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with responsibility for the non-state areas of our nation is very welcome,” Sablan said. “The former President promised an executive-level Territory and Commonwealth Advisory Committee and a Special Assistant for territories and Commonwealths, but forgot those promises once in office. I look forward to working with new Associate Director Gretchen Sierra Zorita as the Biden administration implements the President’s commitment to making more federal resources available to underserved communities like those in the U.S. insular areas.”

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