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Posted on Dec 22, 2016

VP-elect Pence taps American Samoa congresswoman to join transition executive body

December 22, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Office of the American Samoa Congressional Delegate)
— On Saturday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence appointed U.S. Congresswoman Aumua Amata Radewagen to the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence with U.S. Congresswoman Aumua Amata at the Capitol last month. Contributed photo

Vice President-elect Mike Pence with U.S. Congresswoman Aumua Amata at the Capitol last month. Contributed photo

“Amata is a great friend and colleague, and I am delighted she will be joining our team,” said vice chair Marsha Blackburn, a senior member of Congress from Tennessee, who also serves as vice chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. “This decision advances a commitment President-elect Trump made last spring to not forget the territories once elected.”

Radewagen can be expected to be looked to as a key advisor on issues concerning the U.S. territories and Asian Pacific American or APA communities.

As the highest ranking elected Republican federal official of APA heritage and as a Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention last summer, Amata is ideally suited to serve in this powerful role within this prominent group of decision-makers.

Having served on President George W. Bush’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and as the current vice chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Native Alaskan Affairs, the congresswoman is very familiar with leadership in both the Caribbean and Pacific territories and stateside APA communities.

The Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee is a body composed of national business, government and political leaders who are guiding the work of teams that have been dispatched to the White House and various government departments and agencies to coordinate with current administration officials the smooth handover of the reins of government on Jan. 20. In addition to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the committee includes a number of other members of Congress, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and first daughter Ivanka Trump.

“Governor Pence and I discussed this possibility when we met recently, and I’m pleased and honored to be selected by him to join the team,” said Amata.   “Following my conversation with the VP-elect, I spoke with my good friend Marsha Blackburn who saw the value for the territories and APA communities to have a voice on the committee.”

Last month, Radewagen was re-elected for a second term to her House seat, having received the most votes for a candidate of any territory-wide office in the history of American Samoa.

Amata first came into office by defeating a 22-year Democrat incumbent, in what has historically been a very “blue” territory. Her selection to the committee may be the first time a Pacific Islander has been part of the inner circle of a presidential transition.

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