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Frmr. Guam Congressman and (ret.) USMC Gen. Ben Blaz, Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Papaliitele David Cohen chat with Aumua Amata

Amata Aumua and Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. At the White House Shamrock Ceremony, Ahern presented the Irish shamrock to President Bush to symbolize in a very special way the bonds between the Irish and American people. Following the ceremony the White House held a reception with an elaborate spread of food and drink to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day 2007. Said Amata, "Speaking as a proud Samoan with a wee bit of Irish heritage, it was truly an honor and I thank the President for including me."

Press Releases_

Amata invited by President Bush to attend Shamrock ceremony with Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern

St. Patrick's Day
March 2007

THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C. Aumua Amata was invited by the White House to attend the Shamrock Ceremony in the Roosevelt Room Friday with Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland. In a ceremony to symbolize in a very special way the bonds between the Irish and American people, the PM presented a bowl of Irish shamrocks to President Bush who thanked him for his strong leadership in resolving the issues of Northern Ireland and reiterated that he stands ready to help. Following the ceremony the White House held a reception with an elaborate of food and beverages to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.

Said Amata, "Although the United States and Ireland are countries that contrast each other in different ways, their peoples are linked in a unique way. Through the Shamrock Ceremony, both peoples were saluted to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day as well as the many contributions of Irish people who helped build America. Ireland today enjoys peace and success and it has been a long journey to make it a reality."

Prime Minister Ahern stated that in order to achieve the Northern Ireland peace, his country has been able to count on the United States as a true partner and generous friend. He added that America has stood with Ireland at all times, helped her peace and contributed enormously to her economic success and therefore, it is a moment to celebrate and say thank you.

In accepting the shamrocks, President Bush jokingly told the Prime Minister that Saint Patrick's Day brings together two distinct groups of Americans: those with Irish descent and those who wish they were. Said Bush, "Whether they're Irish today or every day, Americans are grateful for our Nation's Irish heritage and the enduring friendship that exists between Ireland and the United States is strong." The President quoted President George Washington, referring to him as 'the first George W' which brought laughter, who, in 1783 wrote to recent Irish immigrants in New York that "America is open to receive the oppressed and persecuted of all nations," and he expressed his wish that the blessings of equal liberty and unrestrained commerce would one day prevail in Ireland.

Aumua Amata concluded by saying, "Speaking as a proud Samoan with a wee bit of Irish heritage, it was truly an honor and I thank the President for including me. The will of the people in Ireland is unmistakable and undeniable and in last week's election in Northern Ireland, they gave a clear and strong signal. And on St. Patrick's Day 2007 the emigration from Ireland over the centuries which brought to these shores that proud Irish heritage is widely and embraced. I am humbled that the President invited me to be part of this ceremony at the White House."

Amata Aumua remembers the late President Gerald R. Ford with affection

January 1, 2007

Happy New Year to all and I hope 2007 will be the best-ever year for you.

On Tuesday evening, as I watched television with my family, the program was interrupted by a "breaking news" report saying that former President Gerald R. Ford has died. This was a man I greatly admired as a political appointee during his administration. A quiet, honest, courageous man who took over the presidency at a time of great turmoil, President Ford will always be remembered for his easy smile, his kindness and gentle ways. I learned to eat my cottage cheese with Worcestershire sauce, thanks to President Ford. He was a down-to-earth, humble man who got along well with everyone and treated each individual as a very important person. I will never forget the time my husband and I attended a reception in Washington with our nine-month old daughter in tow. President Ford came over, took Erika from us, lifted her up in the air a couple of times, then hugged her and returned her to us with a quiet smile. A White House photo of them still hangs in her room.

I was fortunate to have worked in the Ford Administration. After serving American Samoa's first elected Delegate-at-large Paramount Chief A.U. Fuimaono from 1970-1972, I went to work at the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) under the Executive Office of the President. My father had always told me how important grants are to American Samoa so I jumped at the chance to learn all about the federal grants process. Don Rumsfeld had just left OEO to become the Chief of Staff to President Ford and he took with him to the White House his own OEO chief of staff, Dick Cheney. Rumsfeld left OEO in the capable hands of Frank Carlucci who later went on to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget and, many years later, the Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld recently left the post of Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush.

When OMB Director Caspar Weinberger became the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, with Frank Carlucci as his Deputy Secretary, they took me from OEO to work for them at HEW.

When Ford became President, the transition to his leadership was one of the most welcomed in the history of the democratic process and people were comfortable with him. He was a man who had worked his way up through the ranks of Congress and had even chaired the House Republican Conference in the early days. Some twenty years later I would work for two consecutive House Conference chairmen, Cong. J.C. Watts and Cong. Deborah Pryce.

President Ford had the enormous challenge of leading his nation at a time of great turbulence and he meant a lot to me as a mentor in my younger days. Tomorrow I will attend his state funeral at National Cathedral.

It gives me strength to remember the thorny problems he faced with such courage and determination and to recall how he tackled those issues with dignity and grace. His leadership was an inspiration and I am a better person for having known him. We remember him in our prayers and he will be missed by us all. May God rest his soul.

President and Mrs. Bush invite Amata to White House Christmas Party

November 25, 2006

PAGO PAGO. President George W. and Laura Bush have invited former congressional candidate Amata Aumua to attend a celebration of the holiday season at the White House December 1. Amata received the invitation in Manu'a last week during her visit to Ofu, Olosega and Ta'u.

"This is an unexpected honor and I'm thrilled to have been included by President and Mrs. Bush. At this very special time of the year, every room inside the White House is beautifully decorated with huge, fresh Christmas trees decorated with ornaments received from Americans all throughout the United States and her territories so the atmosphere is very festive," said Amata. "I understand the East Coast is pretty cold right now and I don't look forward to the low temperatures but it's not often that one receives an invitation such as this, so I hope to be there."

While in Washington, Amata will also attend the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee which is the umbrella organization that formulates national policy for the GOP.

Amata will hand-carry with her the voting proxies of Chairman Tautai A.F. Faalevao and National Committeeman Te'o J. Fuavai, who complete American Samoa's representation on the RNC.

According to the National Committeewoman, several key votes will be taken at this meeting, including the election of a new RNC chairman.

"Last week I received a call from U.S. Senator Mel Martinez asking for my support of his candidacy to be RNC chairman. Mel and I go back to 2000 when we were both selected by then Texas Gov. George W. Bush to be officers of the National Convention in Philadelphia, he is an impressive leader and is the first ever Cuban born United States Senator and I believe he is the right man for the job at this time."

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