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First Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus Formed

July 25, 2019, 1:29 PM HST
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US Congressman Ed Case (Hawai‘i—District 1) will co-chair the first ever Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus alongside three high-ranking US House colleagues, according to a release from the representative’s office.

“I have been convinced for some time that our country’s and world’s future are in the Indo-Pacific, and the islands of the Pacific are a key yet too-often-overlooked part of that region,” said Rep. Case. “These islands and their maritime exclusive economic zones are not only part of our own Pacific ‘ohana but encompass an area larger than the land areas of Russia and China combined.”

“We have longstanding partnerships and critical strategic and other interests throughout the Pacific Islands, not to mention that whole generations fought and won the Second World War and earlier conflicts here,” Rep. Case continued. “Yet now they are increasingly under severe economic and environmental stress, and China is actively seeking to grow its influence. We cannot now turn away from the Pacific, and our new caucus is dedicated to assuring that that does not happen.”

Rep. Case’s founding caucus co-chairs are Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska), the Dean of the House and a long-time partner of Hawai’i; Congressman Brad Sherman (D-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation; and Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Florida), the ranking member of that subcommittee.

Rep. Case said the caucus will serve as a resource in educating members of Congress and their staffs on the importance of the Pacific Islands and the issues they face. It will also demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific and specifically to the Pacific Islands, he continued.

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The caucus will facilitate communication and cooperation on issues of shared interest between the United States and the Pacific Islands, including development, trade, and regional stability and security, the release stated. It will also assist in formulating and implementing sound national policy in the Indo-Pacific over the next generation.

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Rep. Case said the issues the caucus will focus on include trade and development, security—including defense cooperation and maritime security—and climate change as well as ocean conservation.

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