Territorial Relations

The Committee on Territorial Relations offers policymakers a greater understanding of territorial government structure and governance by serving as a conduit to address opportunities in trade, economic development, and various social issues that impact the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The committee provides policymakers with an opportunity for information sharing, collaboration, and improved relations between states and territories in the CSG East region, and is comprised of members in all 18 jurisdictions.

Committee Leadership


Headshot Carmelo J Rios Santiago
Carmelo J. Ríos Santiago
Senator, Puerto Rico
Carmelo J. Ríos Santiago, was born on May 21, 1973, in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He is the eldest son of Don Carmelo Ríos Nazario and Doña Lydia Santiago Estrella. He graduated from Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, Florida, where he earned
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the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was selected as one of the top ten prospective players in the state of Florida. In 1993 he moved to Bethune Cookman College with a sports scholarship and managed to obtain a bachelor's degree in political science and economics. During his time at Bethune Cookman College, he was selected to the "All Star" Team of Division I of the NCAA in the "Mid Eastern Athletic Conference" in the discipline of "Baseball." In 1995, he joined the Law School of the Pontifical Catholic University where he is part of the "Student Bar Association", was a founding member of the Delta Theta Phi Fraternity of Law and President of the Student Council. He obtained the degree of "Juris Doctor" in 1998. He began his professional career as a legal advisor to the Office of the Commissioner of Municipal Affairs and then litigation director of the State Insurance Fund Corporation. In 2001, he started his own law firm, specialized in Administrative, Civil and Criminal Law. In 1999, he aspires for the first time to a public seat as a candidate for the Municipal Legislature of Guaynabo, being elected as an alternate spokesperson for the parliamentary majority.
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Milton Potter
Senator, US Virgin Islands
Milton E. Potter, Executive Director for the Virgin Islands Board of Education, was born on the island of Tortola and is a proud product of the U.S. Virgin Islands Public School System from Head Start through the 12th grade.
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He is a graduate of Florida A&M University where he obtained a master’s degree in School Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Milton and his seven siblings grew up in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and were raised with three basic tenets: Education is the Great Equalizer; Family is the Bedrock of any Community, and A Good Name is a Prized Possession that Should be Nurtured and Cherished. Despite struggling to make ends meet for their large family of 10, his parents, Cecil, a Port Authority firefighter and Margaret a salesclerk, made service a way of life – taking in and raising several disadvantaged youngsters who remain family to this day. The tireless work ethic of his parents and their unwavering commitment to serving others led to Milton’s lifelong commitment to public service culminating in his recent decision to run for a seat in the 34th Legislature. Early in his career, Milton served as a School Psychologist and Counselor at Florida State University in Tallahassee Florida. He also served as Project Counselor for the Upward Bound Program at the University of the Virgin Islands where he served as an advisor, counselor, and role model to high school youth. In the late 1990s, he made a career shift to the field of Human Resource Management and rose to the pinnacle of the HR field, heading significant Human Resources Divisions in the territory, to include HR Director for the Virgin Islands Port Authority and Director of Personnel for the Government of the Virgin Islands. He is a Senior Certified Professional with both the Society for Human Resources Management and the International Public Management Association. His calm and fair nature supports his success as a trained arbitrator & mediator. During his five-year tenure at the Virgin Islands Port Authority as Director of Human Resources, Milton was responsible for recruiting qualified candidates for employment and managing the Authority’s human capital. He was charged with interpreting and implementing all internal, local, and federal employment laws and policies. As part of the executive team, Milton represented the Port Authority in employee grievances, led a major local and national search to fill the Executive Director vacancy, and negotiated all five collective bargaining agreements, serving as the Authority’s Chief Negotiator. As Director of Personnel for the Government of the Virgin Islands, Milton managed a $43 million departmental budget, a staff of 42 direct reports, and 80 agency personnel officers disbursed throughout government. He oversaw the design, administration, and implementation of recruitment, classification and placement initiatives, personnel rules and regulations, local and federal labor laws, and employee development for a workforce of over 7,000 employees of the Virgin Islands Government and over 3,000 retirees covered on the Government’s Health Insurance Plan. He also oversaw the modernization of the recruitment process through the implementation of the NEOGOV applicant tracking system, which has been a game-changer in the manner in which government employees are recruited - reducing the GVI hiring time by an incredible 60% and allowing for online applications. Additionally, the CIGNA health insurance fund grew from $300,000 to $700,000 under his leadership, more than doubling the available funds for the Government’s wellness program, GVI Health. Dedicated to civic engagement, Milton volunteers as an elected member of the St. Thomas Federal Credit Union Board of Directors where he has served as past President and current Treasurer for this $70,000,000 home-grown financial institution. Under his stewardship, for the first time in the organization’s 68-year history, the St. Thomas Federal Credit Union was awarded the highly coveted Credit Union of the Year Award by the National Association of Credit Unions, in June 2019. He is a member of the WADADA I YA Cultural Fraternity, has served as a counselor for the Family Resource Center, where he taught conflict resolution skills to men who were charged with domestic violence infractions. As a part-time instructor in the School of Education at the University of the Virgin Islands, he taught a number of courses in the graduate Guidance and Counseling program.
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Contact

For more information on the Territorial Relations Committee, please contact the staff liaison

Jack Aitken
Email: jaitken@csg.org
direct: 646-356-0043