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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega to meet with sons and daughters of Samoa stationed at joint base Lewis-McChord and also speak during the Samoa Cultural Day at Seattle-Tacoma
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that during this year's July 4th long weekend, he will be visiting the soldiers and their families stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and attend the Samoan Cultural Day celebration hosted by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center and the many Samoan churches in the Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area.
On Friday, July 1, Congressman Faleomavaega will meet with Samoan soldiers and their family members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to discuss issues of concern. Included in the meeting will be Samoan veterans and retirees and family members residing in the Seattle-Tacoma area.
By invitation of Mrs. Fa'aluaina Pritchard, Executive Director of Asia Pacific Cultural Center, and members of the Samoa Cultural Day organizing committee, Faleomavaega will then partake in events leading up to Samoa Cultural Day including a Community Prayer Service at Glover Park High School and dinner with community ministers and leaders.
The July 2nd Samoa Cultural Day will begin with a morning parade at Clover Park Stadium in the city of Lakewood, Washington. Joining the event with Faleomavaega as his special guests will be Colonel Leafaina Tavai-Yahn, recently installed Commander of the 404th Army Field Support Brigade headquartered at Fort Lewis, CSM Tuileama Nua, Command Sergeant Major for Western Regional Medical Command, and 1SG Tausala Faamausili who is Vice President of Toa O Samoa organization.
An official opening ceremony and rising of the flags will follow the parade. The event will then feature cultural games, dance and song competitions. Included also in the festivities will be Pacific Islander arts and crafts and educational booths for the enjoyment of visitors.
As Keynote Speaker during the Samoa Cultural Day, the Congressman will be joined by other dignitaries including Mayor Doug Richardson of Lakewood, Deputy Mayor Lauren Walker of Tacoma, State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos of Washington, Commissioner Sefa Aina of the White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Sponsored by the City of Lakewood and local community groups, the event is expected to draw a crowd of over 2,000 guests from Washington and Oregon.
Following the Samoa Cultural Day, Faleomavaega will attend Sunday Church Service at Ft. Lewis EFKAS, under the leadership of Reverend Suipi Vaielua (Ret. Army) and later a luncheon with community and church leaders. The Congressman will then conclude his weekend with a roundtable chat with Samoan youth from the Seattle-Tacoma area.
"I want to acknowledge and thank Command Sergeant Major Tuileama Nua who besides being the Command Sergeant Major for the Western Regional Medical Command is also President of the Toa o Samoa JBLM, an organization of the Samoans stationed in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, for organizing the visit and meeting with the soldiers and their families," Faleomavaega said. "I also want to acknowledge the other officers of the Toa o Samoa JBLM organization including First Sergeant Tausala Faamausili, Vice President, Staff Sergeant Shaun Umi, Treasurer, and Tusapa Taamu, Secretary.
"Also, I want to thank Mrs. Faaluaina "Lua" Pritchard, and the community leaders and ministers of the many Samoan churches in Washington who organized the Samoa Cultural Day for inviting me to speak at their event."
"I am very pleased to be spending this July 4th weekend with our Samoan soldiers and their families as well as the many retired and former military Samoans who reside in the Washington and Oregon states. I look forward to meeting members of our Samoan community during the Samoa Cultural Day and especially speaking with the youth on Sunday afternoon," concluded Faleomavaega.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega congratulates Colonel Leafaina "Ina" Tavai-Yahn on new assignment as Commander of the 404th Army Field Support Brigade
Congressman Faleomavaega today offered his personal congratulations to Colonel Leafaina "Ina" Tavai-Yahn on her new assignment as the commander of the 404th Army Field Support Brigade headquartered at Fort Lewis, Washington.
COL Tavai-Yahn recently graduated from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island where she received her Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies thus completing her promotion to Colonel. On June 15, 2011, COL Tavai-Yahn officially took command of the brigade from retiring COL George Akin in a Change of Command Ceremony that was presided over by Major General Yves Fontaine and attended by many of COL Tavai-Yahn's family.
According to the U.S. Army website, the 404th Army Field Support Brigade implements the Materiel Enterprise to forces throughout the western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The Brigade also provides acquisition, logistics and technology-related sustainment support to Army, joint, and multinational forces, as well other government agencies through a combination of direct support and general support as directed by the Army Sustainment Command and senior Army sustainment command in its area of operations.
"I want to congratulate COL Tavai-Yahn for completing her promotion to Colonel and becoming the new commander of the 404th Army Field Support Brigade. As far as I know, Ina is the first active commissioned officer of Samoan ancestry to command a brigade and I am so proud of her and what she has accomplished," said Faleomavaega.
"COL Tavai-Yahn is a role model and a leader for all our Samoan youth as she represents the core qualities and values of the Toa o Samoa. From her humbled beginnings at West Point to her many assignments and tours around the world, we must recognize her for her service to our country and for making the many sacrifices together with her family in order to protect the many freedoms we enjoy today."
"We have many sons and daughters from Samoa and the rest of the Pacific in our military today. COL Tavai-Yahn is a great ambassador for our military and she will continue to do so in her new capacity as commander of this important component of our military."
Born and raised in American Samoa, Leafaina is the daughter of the late High Chief Atiumaletavai Kaleopa and Lauolive Toomalatai Tavai from the village of Gataivai. She is married to Chief Warrant Officer Four (retired) Rocky D. Yahn.
COL Tavai-Yahn is a graduate of Samoana High School in American Samoa. Following her high school graduation, she was accepted to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point when she was nominated by former Congressman Fofo I.F. Sunia, and she became the first ever Samoan to graduate from the academy.
She received her Bachelor of Science from West Point and was then commissioned Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in May, 1989. She is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and holds an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
COL Tavai-Yahn's previous assignments include Automotive/Armament Platoon Leader, Shop Officer, and Support Operations Maintenance Officer in the 3rd Forward Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany. She served as the Combat Vehicle Maintenance Manager, 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas and commanded Delta Company, 124th Main Support Battalion which was later re-flagged as the 704th Main Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. After company command, COL Yahn served as the Deputy MMC Chief and Materiel Readiness Officer, 4th Infantry Division before being assigned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds as the Adjutant to the Chief of Ordnance.
After graduating from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, COL Tavai-Yahn was assigned as the Materiel Readiness Officer for 3rd Infantry Division while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom during the fight to Baghdad. Following redeployment, she served as the Support Operations Officer, 26th Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. After this assignment, she served as the Support Operations Officer, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade during the 3rd Infantry Division second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III (2005-2006).
Following redeployment, she served as the Director of Officer Training at the US Army Ordnance Center and Schools, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. In February 2007, COL Yahn assumed command of the 589th "Iron Caissons" Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Fires Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas. She commanded for 32 months including a 14-month deployment to OIF 08-09 in support of the 41st Fires Brigade and all coalition forces operating in Wasit Province. After giving up command in 2009, she served as the Deputy Commander for the 120th IN BDE (Training Support Brigade), Division West before attending the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
"Again, I want to congratulate COL Tavai-Yahn, her husband retired Chief Warrant Officer Rocky Yahn, her mother - Lauolive, and all her family and I wish her much success with her new assignment," concluded Faleomavaega.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega hosts History Day and Close Up students from American Samoa
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he was pleased to host a total of 22 students and 14 chaperones (teachers, advisors/administrators and parents) from American Samoa who visited Washington, D.C. this week for the Close Up and National History Day programs. This year's groups represented the high schools of Tafuna, Faga'itua, Leone, Nu'uuli Polytechnic, Samoana, South Pacific Academy, Manu'a, Iakina Adventist Academy, and Tafuna Elementary.
The Close Up group arrived Wednesday morning for discussion and lunch at the Congressman's office in the Rayburn House Office Building. They were later joined by the National History Day group. During the discussion, the students asked a variety of questions regarding local issues in American Samoa such as tourism, healthcare, and the economy as well as the role of federal government, the national financial crisis, and the exchanging of ideas across the generation gap.
After discussion and lunch in the Congressman's office, Faleomavaega, along with his wife Hinanui, his daughter Leonne, and her husband and NFL player with the Cincinnati Bengals Fui Vakapuna, led the combined group to the House Committee on Natural Resources meeting room in the Longworth Building, where the students and chaperones took their places in the committee members' seats and continued their discussion about the role of congressional committees in shaping national policy. Faleomavaega is one of the senior members of the House Committee on Natural Resources which has jurisdiction over issues involving the insular areas.
The Congressman then led the students and chaperones on a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol. They visited the House Chamber where they observed from the House Gallery live debate and floor statements by members of Congress. The group then gathered for a photo opportunity with the Congressman on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where they sang a few Samoan songs and met other members of Congress including Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO). As the Close Up students parted ways for an afternoon meeting with Close Up students from the other Insular areas, the National History Day group continued to tour the Capitol with members of the Congressman's staff.
"First of all, I would like to thank our Close Up and National History Day students for spending the day with my office in Washington, D.C. I was very impressed by their intriguing questions and eagerness to learn and participate in the democratic process and contribute to their community. I am delighted to see our future leaders gaining experience and exposure to the federal government system and sharing their ideas," the Congressman stated.
"I would also like to thank the teachers, administrators, and parents who accompanied the students as chaperones and advisors on their trip. Much of a student's success in their education is fostered by your unconditional support and commitment," the Congressman added.
"Lastly, I want to thank the Close Up Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Samoa Humanities Council for their funding support for the Close Up and National History Day programs. I thank the staff of both programs for hosting our students and for allowing our office to be a part of their unique experience in Washington," Faleomavaega concluded.
Eni F. H. Faleomavaega
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. - Prime Ministers Tuilaepa and Mara and the Pacific Way
It has been said among Samoan traditional fishermen that if you get stung by the spines of the Alamea (crown-of-thorns starfish), you should turn the starfish over and have its spongy-like feet touch the area where you have been stung. Although this is no laughing matter as the toxic chemicals in the spines could prove fatal, Samoans believe the Alamea will heal its own doing, hence, the Samoan proverb, "E fofo ele Alamea le Alamea." When matters arise between two parties and conflicts develop, resolution is found by finding the soft side within.
Perhaps this Samoan proverbial expression best reflects the familial feud developing between our brothers in Fiji and Tonga. Prime Minister Tuilaepa's statement and humor concerning the current crisis between Fiji and Tonga is accurate. This is truly a "storm-in-the-teacup" and an internal matter that should be handled in-house. The "brotherly squabble" seen here constitutes what many in the past have coined as the "Pacific Way" and I, too, have every reason to believe that the long, shared history and close relations between Fiji and Tonga would play an important role in finding resolution. This is something New Zealand, Australia and the United States never seem to understand nor appreciate when dealing with our fellow nations of the Pacific.
It was the late Prime Minister Ratu Mara, a Fijian paramount chief whose ancestry is also tied to Tonga and Samoa, who conceptualized and enhanced the true meaning of the phrase the Pacific Way. His efforts and leadership led to the establishment of regional institutions such as the South Pacific Forum and the Pacific Islands Development Program in the East-West Center. To a large extent, the Pacific Way represents the uniqueness of the island nations and their shared interest in doing things that are totally outside of western and elitist thinking. As the late Professor Ron Crocombe said, "[Pacific Way] clearly connotes some perception of an element of uniqueness and unity relative to external influence."
Today, the Pacific Way faces challenges from global forces and outside interests. Economic as well as political interests have caused tremendous strain on the unity of the island nations. Yet one is reminded again of the words of Prime Minister Mara in a speech he delivered at the East-West Center in 1975.
We are oceanic people with all the advantages and disadvantages that this brings. We can harvest the sea and the reefs and lagoons for our protein needs - at least as long as we can avoid the pollution of the kinds that threaten us nowadays... It is surely one of the ironies of history that perhaps our communications were better in those far off days than they are today.
The latest development between Fiji and Tonga is an example of how the Pacific Way might be the best way forward. In finding a solution to the problem, perhaps we can all learn a valuable lesson from the traditional Samoan fisherman and his experience with the sting of the Alamea. The solution is found by turning over the soft side and letting the spongy-like feet of the Alamea heal its sting - a concept that rarely occurs to the elitist and condescending in Wellington, Canberra, and Washington who never seem to take into account the Pacific Way when trying to resolve the problems confronting our island nations.
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA is the Ranking Member and former Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Eni F. H. Faleomavaega
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
May 25, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. - Landlubber Diplomacy: Why it doesn't work in Fiji
In Samoa, when a tauta (landman) advances an opinion about fishing or navigation, he is met with the reply - O le va'ai a le tauta - or, that is the opinion of a landlubber.
In response to Fiji's coups, Australia and New Zealand have advanced a policy to force Fiji back to democracy. Based on a Eurocentric mindset that fails to take into account Fiji's colonial history, complex ethnic mix and chiefly, provincial, religious and family rivalries, Australia and New Zealand imposed a wide range of sanctions on Fiji and cut off diplomatic channels.
Having no policy of its own, the U.S. marched in time, applying section 508 sanction law which severed U.S. aid to Fiji. U.S. sanctions, however, have had no consequence because U.S. aid to Fiji was less than $3 million per year.
Of consequence is Pakistan. In 1999, when General Pervez Musharraf overthrew the democratically-elected government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. waived 508 sanction law, despite the fact that for nearly ten years General Musharraf never made good on his promise to resign his military commission and hold free, fair and transparent elections in Pakistan.
The U.S., like Australia and New Zealand, cooperated with Pakistan's regime - even providing billions in aid - because we understood then like we should understand now that engagement is vital to our interests and necessary if our long-term objectives are peace, stability and democracy.
Do Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. consider Fiji vital to our interests? If not, we should, given China and Iran's growing presence in the region. If so, we need a new way forward.
The U.S. can no longer rely on landlubber diplomacy which seeks to force democracy by isolation. Every tautai (navigator) knows - democracy can't be forced. Force is contrary to the order of democracy and contrary to our innate desire to choose.
To succeed in Fiji, we must start from the beginning. The legacy of Fiji's colonial past has never been fully resolved since Fiji gained its independence in 1970. To date, Indians control many of the small businesses. Australia and New Zealand control major banking and commercial enterprises, and indigenous Fijians control much of the communal land and military establishment, with serious divisions existing between traditional leaders and lower-ranking Fijians.
So far, no resolutions have been established to provide balance and fairness to both Fijians and ethnic Indians. In the past 20 some years, Fiji has had four coups. In the two coups of 1987 and the political crisis of 2000, ethnic tensions played major roles.
Until we understand this beginning and begin to converse about it, democracy will not get underway. Having had several discussions with interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and dozens of others during my visits to Fiji, I believe U.S. leadership and engagement can help strengthen bilateral ties and improve regional conditions.
With our newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, the Honorable Frankie Reed, en route, I have every hope that she will offer up expertise and resources to achieve equal suffrage and other political, economic and social reforms targeted under the "Strategic Framework for Change."
By employing smart diplomacy - which is the hallmark of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's foreign policy initiative - we can speed the sort of reforms that I believe the interim Prime Minister seeks.
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA is the Ranking Member and former Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Applications for Small Business Lending Fund now available
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that application materials for funding under the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) program are now available from the U.S. Treasury. Eligible banks are able to access application materials online including Forms, Instructions and Fact Sheet at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sb-programs/Pages/Overview-for-CDLFs.aspx.
The deadline for submitting applications is June 22, 2011.
The SBLF is one of the two programs that provide the tenets of the Small Business Jobs Act (SBJ Act) Congress enacted in 2010. It will make available low-cost capital to help eligible banks increase lending to small businesses.
The second program under the SBJ Act is the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which will assist local governments in designing credit access programs for small businesses.
Based on eligibility criteria posted online, a participant in the SBLF program must:
Participating banks would be charged a dividend rate of 5-percent per annum initially, with reduced rates available if the bank increased its small business lending. For example, if small business lending increased by 10-percent or more, the dividend rate would be reduced to 1-percent within two years of the capital investment under the program.
"These programs underscore the importance of small businesses to our economy and I am pleased that they are available to banks in American Samoa. Information received by my office so far suggests that ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank is a potential candidate," Faleomavaega said.
"Meanwhile, I understand from US Treasury that ASG has already filed a Notice of Intent to Apply for funding under the SSBCI program, from which it is eligible to receive up to $13.5 million. The final application for the SSBCI program is due on June 27th," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2011
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards $69,000 to American Samoa Department of Health
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has awarded $69,044.00 to the American Samoa Department of Health (ASDOH) through a Chronic Disease Control Cooperative Agreement grant for Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Systems (BRFSS).
The grant was awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Public Health Surveillance Program Office (PHSPO). It is authorized through Public Law 95-626 which was introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy in 1978. The law was passed by Congress and amended the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the programs of financial assistance for the delivery of health services and the provision of preventive health services.
The BRFSS program will help State Health Departments monitor the prevalence of major behavioral risks associated with premature morbidity and mortality in adults to improve the planning, implementation, and evaluation of disease prevention and health promotion programs. Through the grant program, the PHSPO will manage surveillance systems with cross-CDC utility and develop new ideas, methods, tools, information sources, analysis, and dissemination.
More specifically, the funding will assist the American Samoa Department of Health to maintain and expand 1) specific surveillance using telephone and multimode survey methodology of the behaviors of the general population that contribute to the occurrence of prevention of chronic diseases and injuries, and 2) the collection, analysis, and dissemination of BRFSS data to State categorical programs for their use in assessing trends, directing program planning, evaluating programs, establishing program priorities, developing policy, and targeting relevant population groups, according to the DHHS grant announcement.
This year, the PHSPO selected 53 recipients for this grant and awarded an overall funding amount of $45 million. The grant budget period will extend until March 2012 and the project period will continue through March 2014.
"I would like to congratulate the American Samoa Department of Health for having successfully secured this Chronic Disease Control Cooperative Agreement grant made available this year through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
"This program was originally designed to improve the delivery of health services and especially build capacity and data collection for preventative efforts. I am pleased to know that these funds will support these efforts in American Samoa," Faleomavaega added.
"Lastly, I commend Ms. Elizabeth Ponausuia, recently nominated ASDOH Director and current Deputy Director, and her staff for pursuing these grants to improve health outcomes in American Samoa," Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega represents U.S. at G-20 Speakers' Conultation 2011
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he represented the U.S. at the G-20 Speakers' Consultation held in Seoul, Korea from May 18-20, 2011. By invitation of His Excellency Mr. PARK, Hee Tae, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Faleomavaega joined with other world leaders including Speakers, Senate Presidents, and other high-ranking officials from Australia, Brazil, China, the European Union (EU), France, India, Indonesia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
"Although I was invited to represent the U.S. in my official capacity as Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific," Faleomavaega said, "wherever I go, I always represent the people of American Samoa. On this historic occasion, I am pleased that the people of American Samoa had a voice at the table."
"As I stated in my previous release, the G-20 promotes cooperation among 20 major economies that account for 85% of global gross national product as well as 80% of world trade. In 2009, the G-20 announced that it will replace the G-8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations."
"Semi-annually, the heads of the G-20 nations meet and, in November 2010, the Republic of Korea hosted the G-20 Summit in Seoul. As a follow-up to the Summit, the Republic of Korea also hosted the G-20 Speakers' Consultation for purposes of providing a venue for legislators to share experiences and coordinate policy to solve major problems affecting participating countries, including the global financial crisis, poverty, climate change, food shortages, and terrorism. The theme of the G-20 Seoul Speakers' Consultation 2011 was "Development and Growth for Common Prosperity" which focused on ways to promote world peace."
"In response to this topic, I began my speech at the G-20 Speakers' Consultation with a Samoan proverb that I believe captures the essence of the conference. The proverb is based on how we make fish nets. In Samoa, a big fish net is made by joining together many smaller parts. The small parts, known as a tulavae, are made by individuals from varying villages. Many tulavae are joined together to make a fata, or a complete net. Because the net is made by many, we have a proverb that states, Ua 'ou seuseu ma le fata, or I am fishing because I have helped to make a fata."
"In many ways, I believe this is how the world is supposed to be and the business we should be about. I believe prosperity only comes about when we join together for the common good of making a fata, or a big net, that all can use to fish and when we recognize the contributions of all the villages which make the fata, regardless of whether or not they are associated with the G-20."
"I am proud of the sacrifices of the people of American Samoa, for example, who add their tulavae to the making of the fata. In 2005 and again in 2009, USA Today reported that the sacrifice of American Samoa in the Iraq war was disproportionate to the territory's small size, as residents of the territory were 15 times more likely to be killed in action in Iraq than residents of the United States as a whole. In honor of American Samoa's veterans and their service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and every war since WWII, I want to publicly acknowledge all of they have done to secure peace, prosperity, freedom and liberty for others, including the people of South Korea."
"At the G-20 Speakers' Consultation, we talked about the challenges that harm peace, challenges of international terrorism, challenges of trends that could weaken democracy, and challenges that help us find ways to diffuse tension and mitigate conflict. I suggested that efforts to enhance stability - economic, social, and political stability - and efforts to strengthen democracy are the best means to meet these challenges head-on. These efforts need not be the same from one country to another, but each of our countries can learn from the experiences of others and can apply those lessons in ways that adapt to our own individual circumstances and that fit our parliamentary customs and traditions because each of us comes from a place with unique circumstances and traditions, with bodies of law that guide and instruct us."
"I appreciate what the U.S. stands for and the principles that guide us, and I commend His Excellency Mr. PARK, Hee Tae, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, and also Speaker John Boehner of the U.S. House of Representatives for their leadership in promoting inter-parliamentary collaboration for world peace and anti-terrorism. I also commend our other colleagues from the G-20 for their commitment to this dialogue and I look forward to continued discussions," Faleomavaega concluded.
The full text of Faleomavaega's statement at the G-20 Speakers' Consultation 2011 is included below.
THE HONORABLE ENI F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA
FOREIGN AFFAIRS SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
G-20 SPEAKERS' CONSULTATION
MAY 18-20, 2011
DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH FOR COMMON PROSPERITY AND
STRATEGIES FOR INTER-PARLIAMENTARY COLLABORATION
FOR WORLD PEACE AND ANTI-TERRORISM
Chairman Park Hee-Tae, Fellow Distinguished Legislators, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great honor and privilege to be here today representing my colleagues in the Congress of the United States at this international gathering of leaders of legislative bodies. All of us, I am sure, have attended international conferences in the past, but this opportunity for us to converse about problems that transcend national boundaries and the solutions to them is unique.
Clearly, we live in troubled times. But the very fact that we, as parliamentarians from around the world, are gathered here in Seoul, Korea to discuss ways we can coordinate policy to address the global financial crisis, poverty, climate change, food shortages and terrorism is an indication that we also live in hopeful times.
Our collaborative approach to these challenges reminds me of a Samoan proverb which relates so well to the theme which has been chosen for this Consultation - that of "Development and Growth for Common Prosperity." The proverb is based on how we make fish nets.
In Samoa, a big fish net is made by joining together many smaller parts. The small parts, known as a tulavae, are made by individuals from varying villages. Many tulavae are joined together to make a fata, or a complete net. Because the net is made by many, we have a proverb that states, Ua 'ou seuseu ma le fata, or I am fishing because I have helped to make a fata.
In many ways, I believe this is how the world is supposed to be and the business we should be about, especially since G-20 nations account for 85% of global gross national product as well as 80% of world trade. In 2009, the G-20 nations, which include, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, announced that it will replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations.
With this kind of success, I believe we should recognize that it has only come about because we have joined together for the common good of making a fata, or a big net, that all can use to fish. We must also recognize the contributions of all the villages which make the fata, regardless of whether or not they are associated with the G-20.
As for my part, I am proud to represent the United States at this Consultation but I also am thankful to represent the people of American Samoa who sacrifice so much so that others may also live in peace. Like you, Samoans also add their tulavae to the making of the fata.
In 2005 and again in 2009, USA Today reported that the sacrifice of American Samoa in the Iraq war was disproportionate to the territory's small size, as residents of the territory were 15 times more likely to be killed in action in Iraq than residents of the United States as a whole. In honor of American Samoa's veterans and their service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and every war since WWII, I want to pay tribute to them this day and publicly acknowledge all of they have done to secure peace, freedom and liberty for others, including the people of South Korea.
I am also pleased to share this platform this morning with my distinguished colleagues from Turkey, India, and Indonesia, and I thank them for their thought-provoking presentations during the first session of this Consultation entitled, "Strategies for inter-parliamentary collaboration for world peace and anti-terrorism."
We are here today to talk about the challenges we face in parliamentary bodies -- challenges that harm peace, challenges of international terrorism, challenges of trends that could weaken democracy, and challenges that help us find ways to diffuse tension and mitigate conflict.
I suggest that efforts to enhance stability - economic, social, and political stability - and efforts to strengthen democracy are the best means to meet these challenges head-on. These efforts need not be the same from one country to another, but each of our countries can learn from the experiences of others and can apply those lessons in ways that adapt to our own individual circumstances and that fit our parliamentary customs and traditions.
I mentioned the experience of our host country, the Republic of Korea, as being particularly relevant to the theme of our deliberations. In 50 years, Korea has moved from being the recipient of billions of dollars in economic assistance from the developed countries of Europe and North America to being a donor to less-developed countries in other parts of the world.
In those five decades, Korea transformed itself from a war-ravaged, largely agricultural, impoverished country into a world leader in manufacturing, high-technology, and export-driven business.
In 1980 - barely thirty years ago -- the South Korean gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $2,300, about one-third of nearby developed Asian economies such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. Since then, South Korea has advanced into a developed economy that had a GDP per capita of $30,000 in 2010, almost thirteen times the figure thirty years earlier. The whole country's GDP increased from $88 billion to $1,460 billion in the same period.
Moreover, as I noted, in 2009, South Korea became the first major recipient of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to have graduated to the status of a major donor of ODA, a noteworthy accomplishment. In just two years, 2008 and 2009, South Korea contributed economic aid of $1.7 billion to other countries.
This transformation has been called "the miracle on the Han River," but I can tell you, there was nothing miraculous about it. There was nothing supernatural about it. There was nothing magical about it. Korea's economic growth and the prosperity it enjoys in the 21st century are the result of human action, deliberate decisions made not just by the government here in Seoul - whose prudent judgments about public policy laid much of the groundwork for this economic expansion - but also the decisions made by individual businesses and consumers, whose choices propelled Korea's economic growth so that it is now the world's 11th largest economy.
With that economic growth came political stability and a parallel transformation into a democracy that has seen regular elections that have resulted in the government’s changing hands several times between different political parties, with a robust, free press, a vibrant civil society, and respect for individual rights and the dignity of the human person.
The example of Korea’s development does not entail the only path to political and economic stability. But it does enlighten us and it does give hope to those countries around the world whose people continue to struggle with poverty, continue to struggle with autocratic governance, and continue to struggle with fears of conflict and injustice.
The importance of political stability in a democratic system of governance is underscored by the well-known research of political scientist R. J. Rummel, who taught for many years at the University of Hawaii and is now an emeritus professor. One of Professor Rummel's most famous articles is called "Democracies Don't Fight Democracies." If you want to look it up on your smartphones during the upcoming break, you can find it on line in the archives of the appropriately-titled Peace Magazine, where it was published in 1999.
Professor Rummel studied hundreds of conflicts going back several centuries and found that, in his words, "Democracy is a general cure for political or collective violence of any kind - it is a method of nonviolence." I do not want to appear too optimistic about this. We still live in an age where conflicts transcend borders, where wars and even genocide exist within the boundaries of nation-states, and where the threat of conflict to cross borders continues to exist even in regions that seem superficially peaceful and stable. Still, I think we should find some hope in various current trends that deserve brief mentions.
I noted that Korea has now become a donor nation. Its Official Development Assistance has gone to such various places as Afghanistan, Ecuador, Morocco, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. Its projects include building houses and health clinics, cleaning up after natural disasters, training workers in the IT sector, helping to conserve forests, and many, many more. These are good and admirable things.
What is equally good and admirable is that businesses from countries like Korea are also investing in the developing world, bringing capital to Africa, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia so that manufacturing can expand, commodities can be traded, and jobs can be created. For example, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, and India are rushing to invest in countries all over the continent of Africa -- buying minerals, building railroads, setting up telecommunications networks, opening new businesses, helping expand agriculture beyond the subsistence level, investing in job training. The list goes on. One could say they are sowing the seeds of free enterprise in fertile ground that has for too long been ignored.
All this activity contributes, in the long haul, to the kinds of economic and political stability that are preconditions for lasting peace and the mitigation of conflict. This is happening all over the world and our job as legislators and policymakers is to create the laws that support human endeavors that result in economic growth so that any individual who wants to seek success can achieve success. Decisions that we make about tax policy, about immigration policy, about banking laws, about health-care regulations - all of these and the dozens (or hundreds) of decisions we make as elected officials have profound effects on economic and social outcomes.
I am not here today to prescribe particular policies in any of these fields. Each of us comes from a place with unique circumstances and traditions, with bodies of law that guide and instruct us. Yet each of us also has stories to tell about programs that succeeded and programs that failed to achieve their goals, and each of us has questions to ask of the others in this room about what they have done that succeeded or failed.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for granting me this time today. I applaud your leadership and look forward to a vigorous discussion at this session and in the remaining sessions of this 2011 Speakers' Consultation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega hosts Mrs. Tumua Brown, wife of the late Detective Lieutenant Liusila Brown, and family from American Samoa
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he had the pleasure of hosting Mrs. Tumua Brown, widow of the late Detective Lieutenant Liusila Brown of the American Samoa Department of Public Safety (DPS), during her recent visit to Washington D.C. Accompanied by family members including her mother, Sive Mata'utia Liufau, sister Leutu Vaiuli, and brother in law, Afioga Tuiafono Vaiuli, Mrs. Brown was in town at the invitation of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund for its 23rd Annual Candlelight Vigil.
During this year's event, the names of 317 officers were dedicated - 153 of those officers, including Det. Lieutenant Liusila Brown, lost their lives in 2010, and 164 are officers who died in previous years. In total, there are 19,299 names engraved on the Memorial walls.
During their meeting in his Washington office, Congressman Faleomavaega presented Mrs. Tumua Brown with the United States flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol at his request in honor of her late husband, Det. Lieutenant Liusila Brown, who was killed in the line of duty on Thursday 22, 2010. Following their meeting, the Congressman hosted Mrs. Brown and members of her family at a luncheon in the Members-only Lounge and took them on a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
"It is my pleasure to welcome Mrs. Tumua Brown, her mother Sive, and members of her family, to our nation's capital. As your representative in Congress, I thank Mrs. Tumua for the service and life of her late husband, Liusila Brown, and I wish her and the children all the best. May God continue to watch over them and may He continue to bless the people of American Samoa," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega keynotes U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters commemoration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that at the invitation of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Headquarters in Washington, D.C., he joined members of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 12, 2011 to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year.
Welcoming the Congressman to USCG Headquarters were Vice Admiral Sally Brice O'Hara, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard; Rear Admiral Rabago, Assistant Commandant for Engineering and Logistics; and Ms. Giao Phan, Deputy Director of Acquisition.
The theme of this year's event was "Leadership, Diversity, Empowerment, and Beyond" and the emcees were Lieutenant Commander Michael Sharp and Lieutenant Jocelyn Soriano, Co-chairs of the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Group at the USCG Headquarters.
As keynote speaker, the Congressman acknowledged and called attention to the history of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and most importantly the contributions by Asian and Pacific Americans to the success of our nation.
"It was indeed an honor for me to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with members of the U.S. Coast Guard. As most of our Samoan people know, members of the Coast Guard were among the first responders to the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in American Samoa in September 2009. With the most recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, many Coast Guard personnel have also been deployed overseas to assist in the relief efforts," Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
"The U.S. Coast Guard has a long history of service to our people in American Samoa that dates back several decades. A couple of our own prominent leaders, the late Paramount Chief Letuli Toloa of Iliili, and the late High Chief Mata'utia Tuiafono Paepaega of Afono, both retired after serving for many years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Paramount Chief Letuli was formerly President of the Senate and High Chief Mata'utia was formerly Speaker of the House and served as Senator as well."
"As many federal agencies and military installations gather to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, I thank the Coast Guard for their leadership and service in American Samoa and throughout the Asia-Pacific region," the Congressman added.
"I would like to thank the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters for the kind invitation extended to me to participate in this year's celebration. It was a pleasure to take part in such a wonderful event that highlighted the diversity and beauty of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures. I thank Vice Admiral O'Hara, Rear Admiral Rabago, and Deputy Director Phan for hosting this special event," Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
"I also would like to acknowledge Chief Warrant Officer William Ernestburg and Lieutenant Daniel Lee, who is from American Samoa, for their assistance and the entire Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Group for highlighting the beautiful cultures of Asia and the Pacific during this year’s celebration," the Congressman concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega condemns CIA and military usage of "Geronimo" as code name in Osama Bin Laden raid
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that on May 12, 2011 he spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives expressing his criticism on the insensitive usage of the name "Geronimo" as a code name describing Osama bin Laden and the operation that ended in the terrorist's death.
Geronimo, also known by his birth name "Goyaale," is revered as a Native American leader and hero. Born in 1829, he became a legend by fighting against the U.S. and Mexico for expanding into Apache tribal lands. Evading the capture of U.S. officials for years, he was finally tracked down and taken as a prisoner of war in 1886 and later died in 1909 as a prisoner at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Congressman Faleomavaega, in his statement before the House, emphasized the insensitivity in associating a Native American hero with a world terrorist who plotted and killed thousands of innocent people throughout the world.
"It is the year 2011, and it is time that Congress takes a stand against these types of actions which continue to disparage and insult Native Americans throughout our nation. This has been going on for years - from Indian mascots such as the Washington Redskins to using the term 'Indian country' to describe 'enemy territory' to using the name 'Geronimo' as a code name for a world terrorist. It is time to raise the level of consciousness in our nation on such issues that negatively affect indigenous peoples," the Congressman stated.
The full text of Congressman Faleomavaega's floor statement is copied below.
"Mr. Speaker, just last week, the U.S. military carried out a covert operation that ended in the killing of the most wanted terrorist on the planet, Osama bin Laden. The news of Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of our heroic Navy SEALs sent forth a wave of tremendous relief by the American people."
"However, Mr. Speaker, we also learned that the U.S. military and the CIA used the code name 'Geronimo' for the operation to seize and kill Osama bin Laden. The first reports of the details of the raid stated that Osama bin Laden had been identified as 'Geronimo' - enemy killed in action."
"Mr. Speaker, I would strongly suggest to all my colleagues in the House that you should go and see the movie 'Geronimo' and see for yourselves if the Chiricahua Apache warrior Geronimo was a terrorist and murderer of thousands of innocent men, women, and children like Osama bin Laden. On the contrary, Geronimo was one of the greatest American Indian warriors who fought against some of the most vicious, cruelest, and inhumane treatment and policies instituted by our Federal Government against his people."
"As a Nation - Mr. Speaker - I know we can do better than this. And with all due respect, I believe the President and CIA Director Panetta owe the Apache Nation an apology."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Two Polynesian junior golfers taking the golf world by storm in Utah
Congressman Faleomavaega today congratulated and commended two up-and-coming junior golfers from the State of Utah, Naomi Soifua and Samisoni Fotofili, for their dedication and outstanding accomplishments in the sport. Both golfers, who have competed on the state, national, and international levels, have attracted a great amount of interest with their amazing talent, especially at such a young age.
Naomi Soifua, 12 years old
Naomi Soifua gave her first shot at golf after following her father, Mapu Soifua, around the golf course at age seven when she was only in the second grade. After begging her father to let her take swing, Naomi was granted her request and has not stopped playing golf since.
Naomi entered the competitive golf scene at age eight. For three years (ages 8, 9, and 11) she qualified to be one of two representatives for the State of Utah at the Callaway Junior World Golf Tournament in San Diego. She also entered the Utah Junior Golf Association (UJGA) at age aight, winning the Utah State Junior Match Play two years in a row.
At ten years old, Naomi played in her first-ever Utah Women's State Amateur Tournament, becoming the youngest player in the tournament's history. The following year, she became the UJGA 2010 "Player of the Year" in her division, playing up with 16-8 year olds.
Naomi played her most recent three golf tournaments in the men's division where she shot from the "black tees" (farthest distance) along with the other players, enthralling them with her amazing talent. At twelve years old she can drive the ball approximately 280 yards. When she was only nine years old, Brigham Young University approached her to see if she would join their golf program when she graduates high school. She hopes to take up BYU on their offer and become a professional golfer. On June 1st, she will enter to qualify for the U.S. Public Links Tournaments, a tournament of top amateurs in the nation.
Naomi is the daughter of Mapu Soifua of Mapusaga Fou and Camilla Lealaitafea Soifua of La'ie, Hawaii. Her paternal grandparents are from Samata, Samoa and her maternal grandparents are from La'ie and Salagi, Samoa. She currently attends the 6th grade at Majestic Elementary School in West Jordan, Utah.
Samisoni Fotofili, 10 years old
Samisoni's passion for golf began when at four years old when his grandfather, Halaapiapi Fotofili, would take him out to the golf course with his golf buddies. His grandfather later enrolled him in lessons at age six and later in the Drive, Chip, and Putt program.
Samisoni entered his first tournament at eight years old. Coached by his grandfather, father, family, and friends, Samisoni met with great success during his first season in the Utah Junior Golf Association. He placed 3rd in his very first tournament and won 1st place overall for the 2009 season as well as "Player of the Year" for the 7-8 age bracket.
At nine years old, he entered the Junior World qualifier and was one of two junior golfers in his division to represent the State of Utah at the Callaway Junior World Golf Tournament in San Diego, competing with junior golfers in his division from over 15 states and 25 countries.
Currently he is in his second spring season with U.S. Kids Golfing. Though Samisoni is a well-rounded athlete, also excelling in football, his first love is golf. His future plans and goals are to serve a mission, play golf at Stanford University, and become a professional golfer.
Samisoni is the son of Rick Fotofili, from the village of Mu'a, Tonga, and Lavinia Hunkin Vanisi, from La'ie, Hawai'i. His paternal grandparents are Halaapiapi and Lineti Fotofili and his maternal grandparents are Similati and Tui Vanisi. Samisoni currently attends the 4th grade at Westland Elementary in West Jordan, Utah.
"I am so thrilled to hear the news of these two talented junior golf stars, Naomi and Samisoni, and it is always a pleasure to share the accomplishments of our young prodigies with the greater community," Faleomavaega stated.
"I commend both Naomi and Samisoni for their outstanding accomplishments in the golf world at such a young age. I also commend their parents, Mapu and Camilla Soifua and Rick and Lavinia Fotofili, as well as their grandparents, for their dedication and support. We're definitely going to hear from Naomi and Samisoni in the years to come," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega featured on CNN, in support of Samoa's proposed change of it's International Date Line
Congressman Faleomavaega today tells CNN International that he supports the proposed date changes in the Independent State of Samoa. During the five minute interview, Faleomavaega applauded Prime Minister Tuilaepa and his Cabinet for the proposed plan to move the International Date Line (IDL) east of Samoa, which in effect, puts Samoa a day ahead of American Samoa. The IDL is currently to the west of both Samoa and American Samoa.
"The proposed switch makes sense economically for Samoa," said Faleomavaega. "Historically, the IDL was originally east of the Islands of Samoa until 1892, when it was switched to facilitate trade interests with Hawaii and California. Apparently, times have changed and we no longer share the same political and economic needs with our cousins in the Independent State of Samoa. I believe this is an excellent decision and I fully support PM Tuilaepa's plan to return the IDL east of Samoa," Faleomavaega added.
Because the IDL is not governed by any international treaty or laws, any nation may unilaterally make the decision regarding its own time zones. The most recent change was in 1995 when the IDL was moved east of Kiribati.
"While much is to be determined, there is no reason to believe that the proposed switch will significantly change the existing political and economic relations between American Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa," Faleomavaega explained.
"Moreover, I think this will provide an excellent marketing strategy to boost tourism and better streamline business transactions between Samoa and her Pacific neighbors - especially New Zealand and Australia - and many of the countries throughout Asia. Although we have not thoroughly reviewed this latest change of time by Samoa, I'm sure we will find areas that will complement our needs as well," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2011
Washington, D.C. - American Samoa Department of Health awarded $85,000 under rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has awarded $85,000 to the American Samoa Department Health (DOH) under the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program.
Authorized by Congress under the Public Health Service Act (Title III, Section 330A, 42 U.S.C. § 254b), the purpose of the program is to expand access to health care, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services, and enhance the delivery of health care, in rural areas. This year, DHHS selected fifteen recipients for this grant and awarded an overall funding amount of $1,275,000.
Over the next year - May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012 - this grant will support the American Samoa DOH in laying the foundation of a rural health network by identifying and convening potential collaborating network partners in the community/region, conducting planning activities, and carrying out network activities to promote the network's sustainability.
Though funds cannot be used for direct delivery of health care services, grants typically are used to acquire staff, hire technical experts, and purchase resources to build the network. In addition to the activities mentioned above, for this year's award, projects can also focus on community needs assessments, HIT (Health Information Technology) readiness and economic impact analyses. After completion of the grant year, successful grantees often apply for the 3 year Network Development implementation grant to continue the work they started under the Network Planning grant.
"I would like to congratulate the American Samoa Department of Health for having successfully secured one of the fifteen discretionary Network Planning grants available this year through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
"I am pleased that this grant will help our local health care providers to develop formal integrated health care networks and improve the quality of and access to health care in American Samoa," Faleomavaega added.
"Lastly, I commend Mrs. Elizabeth Ponausuia, recently appointed DOH Director, as well as the staff of DOH for their continuous commitment to improving health care in our territory," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega candidate, Joseph Joo, offered appointment by U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has been informed that the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, has offered Mr. Joseph Joo an appointment to West Point for the class entering on June 27, 2011.
"I would like to congratulate Joseph for successfully meeting the high qualifying standards set forth by the Academy which in turn has led to his being offered one of these most prestigious and much sought after appointments," Faleomavaega said. "I would also like to extend my congratulations to his parents and teachers."
Joo is a senior at South Pacific Academy and is the son of Mr. Jong Keun and Mrs. Nahaeri Jun Joo of Amanave. Should he accept his appointment to West Point, he will be entering the academy along-side Mr. Fa'aolataga Pulou, who will be graduating from the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) on May 13, 2011. He would also be joining Mr. Alexander Savusa who is currently completing his first year at West Point.
Upon graduation, cadets are awarded Bachelor of Science degrees and commissions as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. "I have every confidence that Joseph has the academic and athletic ability to succeed at West Point and I wish him the best of luck," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega concernd with impact on Pell Grant awards to ASCC students if proposed republican budget for FY2012 becomes law
Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that the proposed Republican budget for FY 2012 introduces significant cuts to the Pell Grant program, a need-based grant program for college students from low-income families. Passed by the House on Friday, April 15, H.Con.Res.34 would impose changes to the Pell Grant that would make college far less affordable for America's students.
Compared to the $23 billion in Pell Grant funding for FY 2011, the Republican budget proposal would decrease overall funding to pre-stimulus levels of around $16 billion. Based on pre-stimulus levels, the Republican budget could also decrease the maximum Pell Grant award of $5,550 down to $3,040, the lowest it has been since 1998. Furthermore, new data from the U.S. Department of Education show that, if passed, the budget would result in almost 1.4 million students losing eligibility for Pell Grants nationwide in the 2012-2013 school year and all students receiving significantly reduced awards.
"There are currently over 15,966 students in American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas Islands and this budget proposal would result in 2,498 of these students losing eligibility starting in the 2012-2013 school year. Furthermore, the students in these territories who continue to receive the grant would receive on average $1,935 less than their current average award of $4,059," Faleomavaega noted.
"The Pell Grant is a vital source of financial aid for college students across the nation. In the past 5 years, over 15,000 Pell Grants have been awarded to students at American Samoa Community College, according to the ASCC Financial Aid Office. For the 2010-2011 school year alone, the Pell Grant program has contributed $6,000,000 in funding to ASCC students. Currently, 1,355 ASCC students, or 73% of the student body receive Pell Grant awards," Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
"As the process of negotiating the budget for FY 2012 continues between the House and Senate, I am hopeful that the Pell Grant program will be restored to its current funding levels. As I have stated in the past, while I do support selectively cutting spending, I also believe that it should be our nation's priority to invest in areas like education that hold the potential for long-term benefits in economic growth," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega concerned about FY 2011 and FY 2012 budget cuts - may impact American Samoa
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has reviewed the budget negotiated on Friday April 8, 2011, by Speaker Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and President Obama, to avoid a government shutdown. Introduced in the House as H.R. 1473, the bill appropriates funds for all federal government agencies for the remainder of FY 2011. Both the House and Senate have already approved and President Obama is expected to sign the full-year continuing resolution into law later today.
"While I appreciate the need to trim the federal debt, which is expected to reach about $15 trillion by the end of FY 2011, I do support selectively cutting spending while investing in areas like education and clean-energy initiatives that hold the potential for long-term payoffs in economic growth. This common sense approach will help rein in spending to within reasonable levels without undermining programs that are vital to job creation and economic development," Faleomavaega said.
The full-year appropriation, H.R. 1473, includes $38.5 billion in total spending cuts spread across many federal agencies, including Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), Department of the Interior. The OIA budget is reduced by about $1 million for the remainder of FY 2011. Of this amount, OIA spending on assistance to the territories has been reduced from $75.9 million in FY 2010 to $75.0 million in FY 2011.
"The current Congressional budget reductions could have potential impact on key funding areas for American Samoa. For example, Congressional funding for ASG operations included expenditures on education, the LBJ Hospital, public works, and the college. For the past twenty years, ASG has also received a yearly sum of about $10 million to do capital improvement projects," Faleomavaega said.
"It should be noted that FY 2011 budget has just been completed and now on its way for President Obama's signature. Congress is now faced with the dilemma of conducting hearings and come up with a budget for FY 2012, which begins on 1 October 2011. And its most likely that the Republican majority in the House will be proposing more spending cuts in the operations and programs currently administered by the federal government," Faleomavaega noted.
"I will continue to keep our people informed as more information becomes available," Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2010
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega regrets he will not be able to attend Flag Day celebration due to House in session over budget
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that because Congress will be in session through Friday and possibly the weekend to deliberate over the budget and other critical issues facing our country, and the unavailability of an airline flight for him to get to American Samoa in time for the Flag Day celebration, he will be unable to attend this weekend's Flag Day festivities marking the 111th year since the raising of the United States flag on American Samoa's soil.
"I sincerely regret that I will not be able to join our people in American Samoa for this year's Flag Day celebration," Faleomavaega said. "As many may know, the federal government has been operating on short-term budget approvals since the beginning of the current fiscal year. This week, Congress will continue debating the federal budget for FY2012 while the possibility of a government shutdown still lingers unless a budget agreement for the rest of this fiscal year is passed by Friday midnight."
"Since April 1900, our territory has been celebrating with pride our relationship with the United States of America. One hundred and eleven years later, we are grateful for the military security of the United States and for the benefits and financial assistance we enjoy under the many federal programs available for our people," Faleomavaega stated.
"At this time, I wish to congratulate our people for your service and contribution to the betterment of our territory. I wish to congratulate and thank especially our men and women, past and present, who have served valiantly and honorably in our nation's military forces and their families for the tremendous sacrifices they make for our nation."
"Ia manuia lava le sisiga fu'a a Tutuila ma Manu'a, and may God bless the people of American Samoa and the United States," concluded Faleomavaega.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega nominee, Fa'aolataga Polou, to be offered appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has been informed that Cadet Candidate Fa'aolataga Pulou has successfully completed the course requirements at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) and will, upon his graduation in May, receive an offer of appointment to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
"I am very pleased to learn about Fa'aolataga Pulou's success at the USMAPS," Faleomavaega said. "I commend him for his hard work, desire and determination that has now earned him an opportunity to gain admittance to West Point and subsequently achieve his ultimate goal to become a leader, serving as an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces."
Fa'aolataga Pulou is the son of Mr. Fereti Pulou and Mrs. Folauiula Pulou of Faga'itua, American Samoa. He graduated from Kanana Fou High School in 2008 and was named Salutatorian of his graduating class. He was also a Prefect and a member of the National Honor Society. Upon enlisting in the U.S. Army, Pulou was assigned to C/126th Financial Management Company at Fort Riley, Kansas where he served as a Finance Technician. Despite his youth, Pulou is a veteran of the Afghanistan war where he was awarded the Combat Action Badge.
The United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) located at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, prepares and trains selected personnel to successfully compete for appointments to West Point. The USMAPS emphasizes instruction in mathematics and English. The academic program readies the candidate for the standardized tests required for admission to West Point, and improves the candidate's ability to meet the Military Academy's rigid academic course load.
"Obtaining an appointment to a U.S. service academy is no easy feat and I congratulate Cadet Candidate Pulou as well as his parents and teachers for his success. As he has proved at USMAPS, I have every confidence that Fa’aolataga Pulou has the academic and physical ability to succeed at West Point and I wish him the best of luck", Faleomavaega concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Faleomavaega congratulates Gallaudet University's Easter Fa'afiti
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he recently hosted Miss Easter Fa'afiti and members of the Gallaudet University Women's Basketball Program, congratulating Easter and her team for a record-breaking season. After a luncheon in the Members Only dining facilities, Easter and members of her group that included Co-Captain and Center Nukeitra Hayes, Head Coach Kevin Cook, Team Interpreter Chris Bahl, and public affairs staff for the Gallaudet Bison, were treated to a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
During their visit in the office, Faleomavaega presented Easter and Miss Hayes each with a gift bag of Congressional memorabilia. Easter presented the Congressman with a team sweater bearing the Bison insignia.
The 2010-11 Season was a memorable one for the Gallaudet Bison. In their first season in the National Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC), the Bison began the season with 20 consecutive wins - the longest such streak in the program's existence - including a win over No. 17 Lebanon Valley College. It was the first time in 12 years they defeated a nationally ranked team. They took the league by storm, finishing 20-2 in the conference and earning a share of the regular season championship with Keuka College. Finishing 24-4 overall, it was only the second time in the program's 115-year history that a team reached the 24-win plateau. Though they fell to Keuka in the NEAC tournament, the Bison earned one of 20 at-large bids to the NCAA Division III tournament, marking their third-ever trip in program history.
Easter, who plays forward and center, set a high mark during her first season at Gallaudet when she earned over 12 different awards including two different All-American team awards. Described by her coaches as 'the heart of this year's basketball team,' Easter earned additional numerous awards through her spirited and dominating play during the 2010-11 season, during which she averaged 20.5 points per game. Along with being named the NEAC Player of the Year and first-team selection, Easter also received the honors of Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Region Player of the Year and first-team honoree, D3Hoops.com All-American Honorable Mention, and Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American Honorable Mention.
Before transferring to Gallaudet, Easter was a power forward at Pittsburg High School in Northern California and a two-time all-state selection at Pasadena Community College. Easter has achieved such a high level of success in her sport despite being hearing-impaired in both ears. She uses hearing aids and applies her great court vision in the game. Gallaudet University is the world's only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. Based in Washington, D.C., the university was founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress, and its charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
Easter is the daughter of Tony Fa'afiti and Christine Tauaese-Fa'afiti, who currently reside in Pittsburgh, California. Her paternal grandparents are Saka Fa'afiti of Taputimu and Mafaufauga Malau'ulu of Nu'uuli. Her maternal grandparents are Tauaese Tiumalu of Fagatogo and Telesia Mageo of Pago Pago.
"I would like to again extend my congratulations to Easter for being a shining example for our Samoan youth in the U.S. and in American Samoa. Easter's athletic and academic accomplishments throughout high school, community college, and now at the university-level, are truly remarkable," Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
"I also congratulate the entire Gallaudet Women's Basketball program, including Co-Captain Nukeitra Hayes and Coach Kevin Cook and his staff, for their extraordinary achievement in this past season. Last but not least, I also especially commend Easter's parents, Tony and Christine, and all of her family members who have played a vital support role in her academic and athletic endeavors. I pray for her continued success and wish her all the best in her future," the Congressman concluded.