Hawaii-born Nani Coloretti says love of community service comes from Filipino roots

Nani Coloretti was recently confirmed Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Nani Coloretti was recently confirmed Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

By Maricar CP Hampton

Members of the Filipino American community welcome the confirmation of Nani Coloretti to the position of deputy secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (HUD)

“We are excited to have another prominent Filipino American voice in government,” said Genevieve Jopanda, National Co-Chair for Kaya: Filipino Americans for Progress, in a statement. “Ms. Coloretti’s confirmation affirms her abilities and signals the continued growth of Filipino American visibility in the federal government.”

Nominated by President Obama on March of 2014, Coloretti is the fourth female deputy secretary and the highest-ranking Filipino American to serve in the Obama Administration.

As HUD deputy secretary, Coloretti pledged to help Secretary Julián Castro in implementing his vision and promote affordable housing and much-needed infrastructure.

“I will work under the Secretary’s direction to manage the day-to-day operations at HUD. I will build on the legacy of those who came before me and did impressive work, including beginning the transformation of HUD’s human resources and financial management systems,” she said.

Coloretti brings more than 20 years of experience in budget, finance, economic and program analysis, and implementation skills, as well another 15 years managing and leading teams in both the private and the public sectors.

“Much of my experience has helped deliver better value for the public by grounding public organizations and programs in a strong operational context. My work spans the public and private sectors, and I have contributed to improving outcomes and increasing efficiency at the State, Local and Federal government levels,” she said.

Coloretti, who was born and raised in Hawaii, credits her love for community service to her Filipino roots. Her maternal grandparents come from Ilocos Norte and Manila.

“My Filipino grandfather was a minister and later became a community organizer to address working conditions for Filipinos in Hawaii’s sugar cane fields,” she said. “My grandmother was one of the first in a long tradition of Filipino nurses. My mother, one of six children, was also a nurse and later, a preschool teacher.”

She believes her upbringing helped shape the person that she is today.

“This tradition of service was reinforced by my parents’ decision to raise their five children in the beautiful state of Hawaii. Because Hawaii is a set of islands with a diverse population, it is there that I learned how to listen, celebrate differences and to make space for others. These values of community involvement and inclusion directly contribute to my passion for public service today,” Coloretti said.

Married for more than 15 years to David Goldstein, a teacher and education policy consultant, she and her husband have a 12-year-old son, Kaleo.

“(My husband) shares a commitment to public service and he has been a fantastic, supportive partner during my years of government service and private sector work,” Coloretti said in a statement before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, which was then reviewing her nomination. “We are both very proud of our son, Kaleo who is a committed student and athlete but he also composes songs, volunteers at the public library and reminds both of us to always look on the bright side.”

Coloretti previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a position she held since 2012. She was also Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget from 2009 to 2012. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she worked at the San Francisco Mayor’s office from 2005 to 2009, most recently serving as Budget Director.

She is a recipient of the National Public Service Award, the Public Policy and International Affairs Achievement Award, the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the Federal 100 Award.

“We wish Ms. Coloretti well as she assumes her post, and we want to assure her of our community’s support,” said J.T. Mallonga, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations. “Her recent confirmation by the U.S. Senate attests to her excellent record. It gives us a great deal of pride to know that talented and dedicated individuals in our community are recognized and given opportunities to bring their skills and can-do spirit to leadership positions in government.”

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