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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 23, 1996


President Clinton today concurred with Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt's decision to appoint Deputy Secretary of Interior John Garamendi to serve as Special Representative for the Guam Commonwealth Negotiations.

Before his appointment in the Clinton Administration, Mr. Garamendi served as Insurance Commissioner for the State of California where he received national attention for his activism on behalf of consumers. He served in the California State Legislature as an Assemblyman and a State Senator for 16 years.

During his legislative career in California, Mr. Garamendi chaired the Joint Committee on Science and Technology, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee and served as Majority Leader. He played a key role in the development of legislation to protect Lake Tahoe, reform health care financing, improve roads and mass transportation systems and develop a state agenda for economic competitiveness.

As Special Representative for the Guam Commonwealth Negotiations, Mr. Garamendi will be in charge of the Administration's review of the Guam Commonwealth Bill, which seeks to enact and enhance insular commonwealth status, with significant autonomy for the unincorporated U.S. Territory of Guam. The Special Representative reviews the draft legislation and current Executive Branch efforts to develop legislative and administrative alternatives to address the Commonwealth issues. In addition, Mr. Garamendi will meet with members of Guam's Commission on Self-Determination, and coordinate with the National Security Council and a Federal Interagency Working Group to develop recommendations on the legislation for the President.