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US Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen

Proudly Representing American Samoa

Biography

Aumua Amata portrait

Biographical Sketch

AMATA COLEMAN RADEWAGEN

(Aumua Amata)

 

AMATA COLEMAN RADEWAGEN (AUMUA AMATA), Republican, was elected as American Samoa’s third Member of Congress on November 4, 2014.  She is the first woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa, the first Republican woman of Samoan descent in Congress and the highest elected Asian-Pacific Republican officeholder.

 

Committee Assignments and Bi-Partisan Legislative Efforts

Congresswoman Radewagen serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and two of its Subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Native American Affairs, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. In her capacity on the Natural Resources Committee she legislates, conducts oversight of laws and proposes policies and programs within the U.S. Department of Interior especially those concerning its Office of Insular Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs and other such agencies within the Department of Interior. 

The Congresswoman is active with the Natural Resources Committee on issues of health, education, welfare, political status, and all economic and social programs concerning the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and the Freely Associated States (FAS) of Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Federated States of Micronesia (RMI), in addition to overseeing policies affecting the 562 Federally recognized Indian Tribes in the United States.

Congresswoman Radewagen also serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and two of its Subcopommittees: the Subcommittee on Health, along with the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, where she advocates on behalf of all service men and women from all branches of service.

She also is a senior Member of the House Small Business Administration Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Health and Technology.

In late 2015, she had her bill, H.R. 2617, unanimously passed by the House and Senate, which became Public Law No: 114-61 on October 17, 2015, amending the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 to prescribe a balanced increase for both employers and employees of $0.40 per hour incremental wage increase in the transitional minimum wage for each American Samoa industry, beginning on September 30, 2015, and on September 30 triennially thereafter. This approach assured the continued long term preservation of the tuna industry in American Samoa, the region’s largest employing industry. 

A major bi-partisan achievement, one of many, Congresswoman Aumua Amata Radewagen tops the delegates and ranks very highly among all members of Congress in sponsoring and co-sponsoring bills with those of the opposite party, according to an index that examines bipartisanship in Congress. The Bipartisan Index, developed by Georgetown University and the Lugar Center, tracks how frequently a Member sponsors and co-sponsors bipartisan bills, and ranked the Congresswoman 14th among all the Members of the 115th Congress (441 Districts) and first among the insular representatives.

In 2017, the Congresswoman introduced, then Congress passed and President Trump signed into law, her legislation naming the American Samoa Veterans Clinic in honor of her predecessor, the late Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, and Vice President Mike Pence accepted her invitation to preside over the designation ceremony in American Samoa. 

In late 2017, she was responsible for having the American Samoa  Economic Development Credit (ASEDC) passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a provision which fosters economic growth and investment as well as stabilizes employment for the nearly 3,000 workers in the American Samoa tuna industry workforce.

In early 2018, the Congresswoman was successful in passing the content and key provisions of her bill, H. R. 385, as part of larger legislation, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). The measure will protect local American Samoan banking customers from unreasonable delays in check deposits and transfers, making these banking services timely and equitable with people throughout the rest of the U.S.

 

Background

Congresswoman Aumua Amata is the fourth of 13 children to the late Governor and Mrs. Peter Tali Coleman. Her father Governor Coleman was the first person of Samoan descent to be appointed Governor of American Samoa and later became the territory's first popularly elected governor. A member of the Republican Party, he was the only U.S. governor whose service spanned five decades (1956–1961, 1978–1985 and 1989–1993) and one of the longest-serving governors of any jurisdiction in American history. 

Prior to being a Member of Congress, the Congresswoman served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leadership Staff for eight years, including Conference scheduling director and also supervised the database created to reach out to Asian Pacific and other minority aspirants for congressional staff positions. She also served as scheduling director to U.S. Rep. Philip Crane (R-IL), the dean of the House Republican Conference at the time of his retirement. Earlier in her career, she served at the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She also was the first executive assistant to the first delegate-at-large to Washington from American Samoa. 

Aumua Amata also has been involved in promoting democracy and fighting for women’s and minorities rights since the beginning of her career and helping build democratic institutions abroad.  As a trainer since 1992, she has participated in missions to Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan and Morocco for the International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. She has conducted training in Washington for Iraqi, Congolese and Uyghur women leaders. Other international work has included participation in several Pacific regional conferences.

Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 as a White House Commissioner for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), where she chaired the Community Security Committee, Amata was the only Pacific Islander on the 15-member commission, which advised the President on AAPI issues and issued a landmark report on the health care needs of America's AAPI communities.  Amata has been the featured speaker over the years at numerous Asian Pacific American Heritage observances, including those at numerous military bases in CONUS and Europe. 

In 2003 she became the first and only Pacific Islander ever chosen as "Outstanding Woman of the Year" by the National Association of Professional Asian American Women (NAPAW). In 2008, she received the International Leadership Foundation’s Visionary Award and in 2013 was presented the “Inspirational Speaker” Award at the Ninth Annual Samoan Athletes Heart of Champions Ceremony in La Mesa, California.  

A founding member of the American Samoa Society, other affiliations over the years have included the Guam Society of America and the Hawaii State Society as well as the Women's Foreign Policy Group in Washington and the Independent Women's Forum. She also belongs to the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association.

A 25-year cancer survivor, Amata has served as spokesperson for the Samoan Women's Health Project to promote cancer awareness and bring mammography to the territory, has been liaison to the National Breast Cancer Coalition since 1993, and has volunteered with the hospital Women's Auxiliary. She also is a member of the board of Field House 100 American Samoa, a non-profit organization devoted to finding athletic scholarship opportunities in the states for talented high school athletes in American Samoa.

 

Education and Personal

The Congresswoman  is a high school graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii. She holds  a bachelor's degree from the University of Guam, with additional studies at Loyola-Marymount and George Mason Universities.  In 2018,  she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by her alma mater, the University of Guam, which also named her in 2017 among the University’s Distinguished Alumni. Also in 2018, she received an honorary doctorate from the Virginia University of Science and Technology.

The Congresswoman is married to Fred Radewagen. Together they have three grown children and two grandchildren.