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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE May 3, 2001


Congressman Eni Faleomavaega has nominated Mr. David B. Cohen to the U.S. Secretary of Labor for appointment as a member of Special Industry Committee No. 24, which is expected to meet in American Samoa this summer to recommend new minimum wages for the U.S. territory.

"I am pleased to submit a strong recommendation to Secretary Elaine Chao on behalf of Mr. Cohen," said Faleomavaega. "He is a Samoan lawyer with a long history of active involvement in business and community affairs. With his experience in complex areas of the law such as international finance and structured financial transactions, I believe he will be able to understand and analyze the detailed data and conflicting recommendations which will be submitted to the Committee."

Mr. Cohen is currently a partner in the Corporate and Banking Department of the Sidley Austin Brown & Wood law firm. Prior to joining his current firm, he was associated with Rogers & Wells, Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, and other private firms. "His specialty in banking, project finance, and general transactional practice, will serve him well as a member of a special industry committee," said the Congressman.

Mr. Cohen holds a joint JD-MBA degree from Penn Law School and the Wharton School. He is the co-author of two legal books, Business and its Legal Environment, and Modern Business Law. He has been an instructor at California State University, Long Beach and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. "In addition to his excellent qualifications, he has run for Congress twice, and has been active in the Republican Party, so has strong credentials in that area as well," the Congressman continued.

"As a Samoan with strong ties to the community, Mr. Cohen is familiar with the unique needs of remote island economies, and will be sensitive to the cultural context in which any changes in current minimum wages would be made," noted Faleomavaega.

The members of the Special Industry Committee are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The recommendations of the committees are published in the Federal Register as a Wage Order, and become effective shortly thereafter. American Samoa is the only U.S. jurisdiction in which special industry committees are convened, although the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands also has a minimum wage below the Federal minimum wage, which is $5.15 per hour. The current minimum wages in American Samoa range from a low of $2.50 per hour for the Miscellaneous Activities Industry to a high of $3.97 for the Shipping and Transportation industry.

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