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PRESS RELEASE - November 6, 2017

American Samoa Attorney General Eleasaro Ale
American Samoa Attorney General Eleasaro Ale is seen here giving a talk to the ASCC Political Science Club last week. (Photo: T. Ropeti-Leo)

American Samoa Attorney General Eleasaro Ale
American Samoa Attorney General Eleasaro Ale is seen here giving a talk to the ASCC Political Science Club last week. (Photo: T. Ropeti-Leo)

Attorney General Speaks to ASCC Political Science Club

November 6, 2017

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

For their fall 2017 club activity, the Political Science Club at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) welcomed Attorney General Eleasaro Ale as their guest speaker last week.  “We invite prominent members of the community in related careers to share with students the advantages of studying Political Science and ways in which a degree in the subject can enhance their role as citizens through involvement with their government and society,” said ASCC Social Sciences chairperson Lilian Temese.

Political Science Club student president Ken Tupua welcomed the audience, which included students, faculty, and ASCC administrators. Club vice president Aiava Talaeai offered a brief prayer before Social Sciences faculty member and club advisor Adrian Moana introduced the Attorney General.  Ale began by discussing his own views on Political Science and the importance of a degree in the subject. Ale recalled his own childhood curiosity about American Samoa’s traditional politics and social system, and spoke of how he and his young friends would sometimes perform monologues which gave him the opportunity to play the role of lawyer or judge.

“Political science is the art of politics,” Ale reflected. “It is how society functions to aggregate and distribute its resources to its people.” He talked about the different political systems that one studies in college, such as the U.S. democratic system, Samoa’s parliamentary system, the British monarch system, and even the totalitarian regimes found in some countries. As his talk transitioned from political systems in general to his personal experience, Ale recalled how he graduated from college in the early 90’s, then went directly into law school, which led to him practicing law for the next 20 in the state of Minnesota. During all that time, he said, he had moments of yearning to return home to American Samoa.

Ale reflected how in his current role as the Territory’s Attorney General, he often feels like a politician as he negotiates controversial economic issues and strategizes the necessary litigation to solve institutional problems within the government. He said he misses handling cases firsthand in the courtroom. When Ale opened the floor to questions and answers, question touched on a range of subjects such as the risk of the Retirement Fund loans, revisions for our local tax laws, whether the federal government ought to limit its involvement in local matters such as land and ocean rights, immigration, and citizenship. Ale said he believes that regardless of what political direction we choose to take in the future, more should be done to protect our islands and way of life. He also offered the opinion that government needs to be kept small so it can provide the people better access and streamline the decision process.

Social Sciences chairperson Temese relayed that according to an Academic Affairs Office survey conducted following Ale’s guest talk, most of the students surveyed expressed satisfaction with the subject content presented, the expertise of the presenter, the effective delivery of the presentation and the answers given to audience questions. In addition, most of the students recommended having another presentation from Ale in the near future. Temese also credited Social Science Department faculty Adrian Moana and Sheldon Seigafo for assisting the Political Science Club with organizing this event.