Local Republican Party responds to Sandra King-Young in a paid advertisement
The following statement is issued by the Republican Party of American Samoa in response to an April 23, 2019 ASCC story in Samoa News, “ASCC Political Science Club hosts talk on Democratic Party”
We agree with Tofoitaufa Sandra King in her recent assertion at ASCC's Political Science Club that political parties function much differently than our counterparts in the states.
There is no question that the national parties have sharp differences and for our members the first of what sets the two parties apart is our fundamental difference on abortion.
Abortion is against the Samoan culture and the Republican Party both nationally and here are strongly pro-life (anti-abortion). While local Democrats would also be expected to be pro-life they would be isolated at their party conventions and other gatherings in the states.
One prominent Democrat senator a few years ago was not allowed to speak at the Democrat convention because he was pro-life. Shortly after taking office, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez delivered a speech in which he was quoted as saying “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.” A woman’s right to choose is a code phrase meaning pro-abortion.
One of the central beliefs of the national GOP is the importance of strong family values, the core building block of society. The family is also the essential unit that defines Samoan culture. God is central in Samoan belief and in Republican doctrine as is prayer. Socialism is now a Democratic major theme and it defines the state as God and the state cannot stand competition.
It is much the same on other cultural issues as well. Democrats believe the separation of church and state means no prayers in school and can you imagine what they would say about our ASG Christmas program every year? In a place where the American Flag is revered, Republicans support reciting the pledge of allegiance in schools and are totally opposed to allowing people to burn the flag.
Democrats take the opposite view. No matter what local Democrats believe on these issues, when they are in the states and say they are Democrats, it is assumed they hold the same beliefs as stateside Democrats and their delegates to national conventions are forced to support the party’s platform, which speaks to issues that most Samoans do not share.
As Tofoitaufa said at her ASCC presentation: “Ask yourself which issues are important to you, what individual government leaders plan to do to address these issues, what they have in mind for our future, and what they can do for the betterment of not just a few, but for all.” The issues that are important to most Samoans are those I have described, such as flag burning, abortion, and prayer in school.
But that’s not all. As the Coast Guard Admiral said on Flag Day, American Samoa sends to the military a higher percentage of our people than any other state or territory. There is no question that the Republican Party is much stronger on national defense and respect for the military, and we share Republican concern about controlling our national borders, thanking our ancestors for negotiating for us to keep control of our own borders locally—the only U.S. territory that has that right.
Local control is an important issue for us. We strongly believe in the Constitution’s First Amendment provision that leaves to the states and the people all powers not specifically granted to the federal government.
Another local control issue that separates Republicans from Democrats is national monuments. We oppose federal imposition of a national monument in the ocean where our fishermen earn their livelihoods with no consultation with ASG and the people. Yes, we are concerned with climate change but not at the cost of the destruction of our economy and way of life.
Until countries such as China and India make drastic efforts to curtail pollution, walling off the ocean around us will not solve any problems. Moreover, we oppose efforts to force U.S. citizenship on the people in the territory by some edict of the federal courts. That is an issue that must be decided by the people first.
Finally, there is the myth that the Democrats care more and do more for the people. Most people have not thought about the fact that Democrats controlled both the Congress and the White House in only four of the 26 years Cong. Faleomavaega served in Congress, yet he was able to keep the level of federal assistance steady irrespective of which party was in control because Congress tends to treat all the territories as a group and we always are protected by the “safety net” because our economic indicators always lag behind those of the states.
Many of those years that Congressman Faleomavaega was in office when Republicans were in control, all the territorial delegates were Democrats yet the federal assistance was maintained. And he was not able to get an increase in our annual operating grant from Interior in all his years no matter which party was in control.
In contrast, our Republican member of Congress, Aumua Amata, last year secured for the first time in over 30 years an increase in our Interior grant of over $3.4 million over the President's proposed budget in the last three years. It does not matter what position President Trump has on Medicaid. That issue will be resolved on a bipartisan basis where the House has a Democrat majority but the territories are represented by both Democrats and Republicans. It also helps to have a Republican to deal with the Senate and White House.
We do not elect our members of Congress by party here but everyone knows the party identification of the candidates because they have to join one party or another in Congress to be assigned to committees, where all the work is done.
Because Republicans have more flexible rules on seniority, Aumua won a subcommittee chairmanship and a subcommittee vice chairmanship 18 days after she was sworn-in while it took Congressman Faleomavaega 18 years. Now in the minority, she is the vice ranking member on two full committees and when Republicans take the majority again, as they surely will, she will again become a subcommittee chairman.
The Republican Party of American Samoa has open arms and welcomes all our people to join with us to fight for the principles we all share.