NEW PACIFIC GOP PRESENCE SLATED FOR WASHINGTON

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REPUBLICAN PARTIES OF AMERICAN SAMOA, GUAM AND THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

PRESS RELEASE January 10, 2001 Hagåtña, Pago Pago, Saipan

Simultaneously from Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas, the chairmen of the Republican Parties of those jurisdictions today have announced the establishment of a Pacific Republican Liaison Office in Washington, D.C. to serve as a funnel for communications during the opening months of the Bush administration and the new Republican Congress.

Amata Coleman Radewagen, the veteran Republican National Committeewoman for American Samoa, who is already based in the Nation’s Capital, where she is a member of the House Republican Conference staff, will head the operation.

"Amata was Assistant Secretary of the Republican National Convention as well as American Samoa co-chairman of the Bush campaign," explained Guam Republican party Chairman David J. Sablan, "so she is well positioned with the Bush team to make sure we have a good, two-way flow of information with Washington."

"Because all the Pacific members of Congress and all the governors besides [CNMI] Governor [Pedro P.] Tenorio are Democrats," added CNMI GOP chief Joseph C. Reyes, "we really felt we needed to develop our own channel to make certain we have a say in policy and appointments in the federal government."

"We have to take advantage of the position we are in," said Aviata A.F. Fa’alevao, the chairman of the Republican Party of American Samoa. "The last time both Congress and the executive branch were run by Republicans was after the 1952 elections and there weren’t even any Republican parties in the Pacific outside Hawaii in those days. We must not lose this opportunity to exercise our influence on policy matters and personnel."

Sablan, the principal organizer of this initiative, said he did not envision this becoming a permanent office, just a temporary mechanism to establish a Pacific Republican presence in the minds of new federal officials and Congress. "In addition to the White House, we also will have new leadership on the House Resources Committee," said Sablan, "so we need to develop ties there, too."

"It is particularly a shame there are no island Members of Congress who belong to the House Republican Conference," lamented Sablan, "because that is where all the Congressional policy decisions are made." All four members of the House from Hawai‘i, Guam and American Samoa as well as Hawai‘i’s two U.S. Senators are Democrats while CNMI’s Washington representative, while Republican, is not a member of Congress.

Island Republicans with interests in Washington are being urged to contact their respective party chairmen if they would like to make use of the services of the Washington Liaison Office.

For additional information: Contact: David J. Sablan Phone: (671) 649-7772 Fax: (671) 646-2904 E-mail: djsablan@netpci.com 

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