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Coleman-Ike Dinner draws full house

Governor Tali Peter T. Coleman
Source: Republican Party of American Samoa

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —  On Saturday night the DDW Cafe was jam-packed with local Republicans, other dignitaries and members of the ASCC political science club, who gathered for the fourth annual Coleman-Eisenhower Dinner, chaired by District Governor Alo Dr. Paul Stevenson, who has chaired the event for the past three years.

“The dinner was started in 2016,” said Party Chairman Taulapapa Will Sword, “to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the appointment of Peter Tali Coleman as the first non-hereditary head of government anywhere in the Pacific Islands, and the beginning of the road to self-government for American Samoa.” As a monarchy, Tonga’s government was led by the crown prince as prime minister but it was not until six years later in 1962 that Western Samoa became independent and elected its own prime minister.

Chairman Taulapapa opened the event by reminding attendees about the values of the Republican Party which are consistent with the values of the Samoan culture: devotion to God, strong family ties, respect for the flag, the need to work hard and treat everyone with kindness.

Keynote Speaker of the event, Lydia Faleafine-Nomura, who when appointed by Governor Coleman in 1977 as the youngest woman ever to serve in a governor’s cabinet, told the audience that she will always remember Governor Coleman for encouraging young people, grooming and giving them opportunities for future leadership.

By appointing her as a member of his cabinet, she explained, she was able to move on to bigger and better opportunities and credited the Governor with strongly supporting her for the position she currently holds.  She said the Governor always told his cabinet that when in doubt, “always do what is right.” 

Faleafine-Nomura closed her remarks by paying tribute to former First Lady Nora Coleman as a beloved role model who was kind and gracious to everyone at all times.

Lydia Faleafine-Nomura, keynoter for the Coleman-Eisenhower Annual Dinner, was the first woman ever to be appointed to a cabinet position in American Samoa. [Courtesy photo]

Party officials were delighted and pleased to have the presence of some 20 plus ASCC students, who are interested in learning about the Republican Party and its philosophy.

Proceeds from the dinner, which included an auction of two “Make America Great Again” caps carrying the autograph of President Trump, will go toward underwriting expenses of the party’s 15-member delegation to the 2020 Republican National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, N.C. in 2020.

One of the other highlights of the dinner was the telephone call from President Trump’s Regional Director of Delegates and Party Organization for Donald J. Trump for President, Mr. Dave Huguenel.

He told the audience, “It has been a pleasure to work with Chairman Sword, Cong. and National Committeewoman Aumua Amata, National Committeeman Su’a Schuster, and Vice Chairman and American Samoa’s 2016 Trump Chairman, John Raynar. They have been great allies for the President and for our Campaign. With their help and your dedication, I have no doubt we’ll be able to continue the progress the President has made in negotiating fair trade, improving our economy, putting America first and quite frankly, keeping America great. On behalf of the President I look forward to working with all of you in the months ahead.”

The Party will hold its delegate selection caucus next March 17, 2020 in conjunction with its annual general meeting, at which party members will elect officers and representatives on the Republican National Committee. 

Current officers are Chairman Taulapapa Will Sword, Vice Chairman John Raynar, National Committeewoman Aumua Amata, National Committeeman Su’a Schuster, and Secretary-Treasurer Tina Ioane.