Jan. 10, 2009 — When the 111th Congress convened this week, Delegate Donna M. Christensen was named to three subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.
"It's the first time a non-voting delegate got on this committee. It's one of three major committees in the House. This committee is heavy-duty," Christensen's spokesman, Monique Clendinen Watson, said Friday.
She ranked it with with other major committees such as Appropriations, and Ways and Means.
Christensen will serve on the subcommittees on Health, on Telecommunications and the Internet and on the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee.
"I was warmly welcomed to the committee by both outgoing chair Rep. John Dingell and incoming chair Rep. Henry Waxman," she said in a news release issued Thursday.
The Subcommittee on Health has jurisdiction over public health and quarantine, hospital construction, mental health and research, biomedical programs and health protection, Medicaid and national health insurance, food and drugs, and drug abuse.
"I am pleased to be on a subcommittee where health issues will be decided, especially at a time when President-elect Barack Obama has such great plans for health care," Christensen said.
The Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet has jurisdiction over telecommunication and information transmission by broadcast, radio, wire, microwave, satellite, or other mode.
"Communications, information technology and the internet are growth areas for both the country and the territory," Christensen said. "On this committee I will be more aware of the opportunities available for the Virgin Islands and the other territories in this area."
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has responsibility for oversight of agencies, departments, and programs within the jurisdiction of the full committee, and for conducting investigations within such jurisdiction.
"I will be able to address all the other issues of commerce, energy and the environment on the full committee and on the Oversight and Investigations," Christensen said. "Overall I am pleased with my committee placements, and I believe that they will bear fruit for my efforts and for the people of the Virgin Islands."
Watson said Christensen also maintained her right to vote in the Committee of the Whole.
Last term, she chaired the Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Insular Affairs. That chairmanship will probably go this term to another territorial delegate, but Watson said Christensen will likely be named to the Natural Resources Committee.
She also served last term on the same committee's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
Additionally, she served on two Homeland Security's subcommittees. They were the subcommittees on Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response and Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology.
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