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Thursday, September 2, 2021
Two Hawaii Lawyers Appointed to Interior Department
By News Release @ 2:46 AM :: 2623 Views :: DHHL, OHA

Interior Department Announces New Biden-Harris Appointees

News Release from US DoI, September 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced additional Biden-Harris administration appointees who will work to advance President Biden’s agenda to tackle climate change, create good-paying union jobs in a clean energy economy, steward America’s public lands and waters, and honor relationships and trust responsibilities with Indigenous communities.

“We are excited to welcome these accomplished leaders who bring a diverse set of experiences and skills that will help deliver on President Biden’s agenda,” said Chief of Staff Lawrence Roberts. “These leaders will play a key part in achieving Interior’s mission and delivering results for the American people.”

Interior’s political team proudly reflects the diversity of America, with more than 60 percent identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or people of color) and 70 percent as women.

The appointees are listed below in alphabetical order:

Jordan Chatman, Senior Advance Representative
Sarah Greenberger, Associate Deputy Secretary
Rebecca Kasper, Advisor in the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
Keone Nakoa, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs
Summer Sylva, Senior Advisor for Native Hawaiian Affairs

Jordan Chatman, Senior Advance Representative

Jordan Chatman most recently worked for Patagonia as a communications and public relations associate. Prior to that role, Jordan served as an advance lead for the 59th Presidential Inauguration, Governor Gavin Newsom, Jon Ossoff for Senate, Jamie Harrison for Senate, and Bloomberg 2020. He began his career as an intern with the National Park Service and Interior’s Office of the Secretary through the Greening Youth Foundation’s HBCU internship program, which introduces diverse youth and young adults to careers in conservation. Jordan graduated from Tuskegee University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Sarah Greenberger, Associate Deputy Secretary

Sarah Greenberger most recently served as the senior vice president for conservation policy at the National Audubon Society. Sarah joined Audubon after serving at Interior for five years, driving strategy and policy for the Department as a counselor and senior advisor to Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell. She has also served as legislative counsel to Senator Ben Cardin and was a clerk to Judge David S. Tatel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Williams College and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Rebecca Kasper, Advisor in the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs

Rebecca Kasper joins Interior with more than a decade of political experience and a commitment to sustainability and fighting climate change. Most recently, Rebecca served in finance roles for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Biden for President, where she spearheaded the Climate Finance Voter Council. Previously, she served in a variety of roles for Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Ed Markey, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She is from Richmond, Virginia, and a graduate of Sewanee: the University of the South.

Keone Nakoa, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs

Keone Nakoa joins Interior from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs where he worked with Congress and federal agencies as the Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief. Keone previously served as speechwriter for the late Senator Daniel Akaka, clerk for the Chief Judge of the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals and as a lawyer at a private firm in Honolulu. He holds J.D. and MBA degrees from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology from Harvard University. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, he is part Native Hawaiian and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Stephanie.

Summer Sylva, Senior Advisor for Native Hawaiian Affairs

Summer Lee Haunani Sylva is a Native Hawaiian attorney from Waimānalo, Oʻahu who most recently served as the executive director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC). Summer joins Interior with more than a decade of experience litigating before federal and state courts in Hawaiʻi, New York and New Jersey. During her tenure at NHLC, she led litigation efforts on Native Hawaiian rights issues, including water rights, state and federal government entitlement programs, public trust and historic native land claims. Summer holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Barnard College-Columbia University and a J.D. from Cornell Law School.


AS: Amata Welcomes DOI Appointments

MN: Biden Appoints Native Hawaiian as Senior Advisor 

SA: Two Native Hawaiians, Keone Nakoa and Summer Lee Haunani Sylva, appointed to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior  

OIA Sept 13, 2021: Deputy Assistant Secretary Keone Nakoa and Senior Advisor Betsy Hildebrandt Join Interior’s Insular Affairs Team


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