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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (February 11, 2000 – Samoa News)---The American Samoa Economic Advisory Commission plans to convene in American Samoa March 24 - 30, 2000 to hold hearings and meetings.

The gatherings are intended to give the people of American Samoa an opportunity to tell the Commission how they envision their territory's future economic development.

Prior to its visit, the Commission will support the efforts of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) as it conducts a series of community meetings on the topic.

Commission Chair and former Governor of Hawai‘i John Waihee stated, "There is strong consensus among the Commissioners that any economic development plan submitted to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior should incorporate the views and desires of the people whose lives are ultimately impacted.

"It is important that the people of American Samoa help define and shape the direction of their future through their direct involvement and participation. The Commissioners believe that a community-based planning process, coupled with the Commission's input, helps us reach this goal," he concluded.

The discussions that ASCC will sponsor will focus on developing a five-year community vision for American Samoa's economic development as well as identifying specific issues and projects that will help make the vision a reality.

While it is not possible for the College to send personal invitations to everyone in American Samoa, all are welcome to participate. Those interested in becoming involved should contact Dr. Carol Whitaker of the Land Grant office at 699-1575.

The six member Commission was formed by the Secretary of Interior in February 1999. The Commission is charged with making recommendations to President Bill Clinton, through the Interior Secretary, on the economic future of American Samoa. Additionally, the Commission is tasked with developing a detailed economic policy that will bring self-sufficiency to the territory.

The Commission is comprised of the following members:

Chair John Waihee, former Governor of Hawai‘i; Vice-Chair Robert Lagomarsino, former Congressman from California; Lt. Governor Togiola T.A. Tulafono; Joseph M. Pereira; Chester J. Straub, Acting Assistant Secretary, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Arthur C. Campbell, Deputy Under Secretary for Policy and Planning Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa serves ex-officio.

The Commission's efforts are separate from the Department of Interior's more immediate effort to prepare an economic action plan for the territory (as discussed locally by Office of Insular Affairs head Danny Aranza recently), from the Governor's Office Economic Development Plan (which is now on Governor Tauese's desk for review and approval), and from the Department of Commerce's five-year economic development strategy (which will be completed later this month by private consultant Malcolm McPhee).

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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