In response to Mrs. Amata Radewagen’s recent announcement published by Samoa News on July 31, 2006 in which she took credit for the passage of American Samoa’s tax extensions, Congressman Faleomavaega said all credit should be given to God.
“For years, Mrs. Amata Radewagen has had a habit of saying as a nine-year Hill veteran she has friends, allies and connections in Congress and, for years, Samoa News has published her statements without verification or documentation of her claims. Once and for all, let’s put an end to this. Show us your proof. Show us your proposals. Show us how you saved the day and passed tax credits to benefit American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said.
“As for me, I give all the credit and thanks to God for his guidance and also to the Governor, the Fono, the people of American Samoa, the CEOs of our canneries, including Dennis Mussell and John Signorino of Chicken of the Sea, Peter Smith and Jeff Watters of StarKist, Bill Spane of Del Monte, former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, Under Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Assistant Secretary Papali’i David Cohen, Mr. Dave Burney, Executive Director of the US Tuna Foundation, and Chairman Bill Thomas of the Ways and Means Committee who was our greatest champion.”
“I also give credit to Ranking Member Charles Rangel and our colleagues in the Senate including Chairman Charles Grassley, Ranking Member Max Baucus and Senator Orrin Hatch of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Daniel Akaka who lent their support although they are not members of the Senate Finance Committee. These have been the critical players and without the support of Chairman Thomas this proposal would have gone nowhere.”
“If our people will recall, in Mrs. Amata Radewagen’s press release dated March 5, 2006, she said, in reference to Chairman Thomas, that ‘our Delegate appears to have backed the wrong idea with the wrong allies.’ Frankly, I believe Mrs. Amata Radewagen owes Chairman Thomas and our other allies and the people of American Samoa an apology. Chairman Thomas was not the wrong ally. He was the right ally who, as a Republican, put politics aside and did what was best for the people of American Samoa.
Mrs. Amata Radewagen has brought embarrassment to herself and our people by making us look as if we are ungrateful for his steadfast support in saving our economy.”
“The fact of the matter is Chairman Thomas is retiring and he had nothing to gain by extending our tax credits. He extended them because he knew we needed them and we owe him our thanks. While it is clear that Mrs. Amata Radewagen is desperate to convince our people that she is a key player in Washington, it is wrong for a candidate to disrespect those who have helped us so much.”
“Despite Mrs. Amata Radewagen’s constant criticism throughout this process, I continue to express my sincere appreciation to our people for their prayers and moral support. I truly believe in the Samoan proverbial expression, E le sili atu le ta’i i lo’o le tapua’i which means those of us in the front line are no more important than those who are praying for us in the background.”
“Put another way, without the prayers and moral support of our local leaders and of our people, the extension of tax credits for American Samoa would not have passed the House. So let us remain steadfast in our prayers and let us humbly move forward as this matter will be taken up by the Senate possibly this week,” Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.