Samoa

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News
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Overview
The heart of Polynesia, Samoa has been an interesting experiment in preserving culture. The first in the Pacific to free themselves of colonial rule, becoming independent in 1962 as Western Samoa, the Samoans crafted a constitution that allowed only family chiefs, known as Matai, to vote and run for office. Recent reforms have allowed all Samoans to vote, but still only Matai can be elected. The policy slowed development and thousands of Samoans migrated to Australia, nearby American Samoa, or the United States. Yet island groups who did not deliberately try to preserve their culture also lost thousands of islanders seeking employment and a more modern lifestyle. Today Samoa’s culture remains strong and development, slow as it is, has provided enough to help the government stay financially in the black.
more less
Basic Information
Location: Samoa is located in the center of Polynesia, just north of Tonga. It has an area of 2,944 square kilometers, almost all of it on the two main islands of Savaii and Upolu. The islands are volcanic with rugged central mountainous spines and narrow coastal plains.
Population: 217,000 (2008 est)
 
Religions: Congregationalists 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Mormon 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Center 1.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesian (Polynesian and European mix) 7%, European 0.4%.
 
Languages: Samoan, English.
 

 

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History
Samoa has been settled for at least 2,500 years. It had frequent contact with Fiji and Tonga, sometimes paying tribute to or being conquered by one or the other. After contact with Europeans, a quickly growing expatriate community of beachcombers, traders, plantation owners, and  missionaries developed. In the mid-1800s the Samoans became embroiled in their own civil wars to determine the next Tupu-o-Samoa, or paramount chief of Samoa. The Samoans began selling land to Europeans and Americans to buy guns to fight their wars. The Americans, Germans, and British supported different Samoan factions, each hoping their man would become high chief and bring the stability of a central government. When the wars ended, the Samoans found much of their land in foreign hands, and the Europeans found that the Tupu-o-Samoa was only a ceremonial chief and really had no power to rule over the villages. Rivalries continued, and the expatriates began beseeching their home governments to come in and take over. Eventually deals were worked out that divided Samoa. In 1899 the United States took over what is now American Samoa, with its great harbor at Pago Pago and Germany took over Western Samoa, now called Samoa. The Samoans did not appreciate losing their independence, and began the Mau Movement to regain it. Some leaders of the movement were exiled to the Northern Marianas. New Zealand troops occupied Samoa during World War I, and after the war New Zealand administered the group as a League of Nations mandated territory. The Samoans continued the Mau Movement against New Zealand control. One demonstration ended in violence with several deaths. After World War II, Western Samoa became a United Nations trust territory administered by New Zealand. In 1962, Western Samoa became the first Pacific island group to become independent from colonial rule. The new constitution required preserving the culture, and only family chiefs, known as matai, were allowed to run for office or vote. Economic development was quite slow, and thousands of Samoans migrated to New Zealand and elsewhere. In 1990 the constitution was amended to allow all adult Samoans to vote, but still only matai can run for the legislature. In 1997, the “Western” was dropped from the name and the group became just Samoa.

 

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Samoa's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Samoa
There have been no serious issues or disputes between Samoa and the United States since Samoan independence in 1962. Samoa is closely tied to New Zealand, with a strong treaty of friendship that includes, among other things, military defense by New Zealand.
more less
Current U.S. Relations with Samoa
The United States maintains a one-officer diplomatic mission in Apia, but there is no ambassador in residence as the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand is also accredited with Samoa. Relations between the two countries are good. The United States maintains a strong Peace Corps presence in Samoa.
 
There are more than 90,000 Samoans living in the United States, but there is no data on how many are from Samoa and how many are from American Samoa. There are large Samoan communities in Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. Smaller communities can be found in Laie, Hawaii; Oakland, California; and even Independence, Missouri.
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Where Does the Money Flow
In 2007 the United States imported goods worth $5.4 million from Samoa. The largest category was in fruits and fruit juices. That same year the United States exported goods worth $16.7 million to Samoa, with the main categories being fish, meat, other foods, and electric apparatus. The U.S. aid request for Samoa for 2008 was only for $40,000 to help its police force enforce maritime laws. There is also a large Peace Corps presence in Samoa
 
more less
Controversies
more less
Human Rights
There are no major human rights issues in Samoa. Minor ones include poor prison conditions, limitations on religious freedom, and the refusal to allow non-matai to run for office.
 
more less
Debate
more less
Past Ambassadors
Charles J. Swindells 2/12/02-8/21/05
Carol Moseley-Braun 2/8/00-3.1.01 Moseley-Braun served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1993-1999. She is the first and to date only African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Josiah Horton Beeman 5/31/94-12/9/99
Sylvia Stanfield (Charge d’Affairs ad interim) 8/93-5/94
David Walker (Charge d’Affairs ad interim) 12/92-8/93
Della M. Newman 11/16/89-12/21/92
Paul Matthews Cleveland 8/20/86-4/28/89
H. Monroe Brown 9/18/81-11/1/85
Anne Clark Martindell 9/17/79-5/7/81
Armistead I. Selden Jr. 5/16/74-4/23/79
Kenneth Franzheim II 6/14/71-11/11/72
 
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Samoa's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Elisaia, Aliioaiga Feturi

Samoa’s ambassador to the United States is Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia. He is also Samoa’s Permanent Representative for Samoa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Samoa’s ambassador to Canada. Elisaia earned a degree in political science and administration from the University of the South Pacific and also studied diplomacy at Oxford. Most of his career has been spent in Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although he was first secretary to the Samoa High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand.  Elisaia took over his ambassadorial posts in April 2003 when the previous ambassador, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, was chosen to serve as a judge on the International Criminal Court.
 

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Samoa's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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Comments

randy cirksena jr 5 years ago
i believe my great uncle jim wright was a former ambassador to american samoa. can you help me confirm this, and provide me with dates of his service? he was married to my great aunt donna stewart wright. thank you randy cirksena jr. 507-373-7717 office
Susan Jerrell 8 years ago
Hello: Can you please advise me if I can do some volunteer work at the LA Consulate office to help with sunami relief? I can't seem to find a contact number or e-mail for them. Thank you so much. Susan Jerrell

Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Samoa

Brown, Scott
ambassador-image

The latest U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa is a former politician who is accustomed to relocating to follow his ambitions. Scott Brown, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts who moved to New Hampshire in order to restart his political career, was nominated by President Trump on April 20, 2017, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 8, 2017. Many New Zealanders are unhappy with the selection.

 

Brown’s confirmation was nearly unanimous, with only four votes against him, each of them Democrats—Senators Cory Booker (New Jersey), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (California). He received enthusiastic support from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who had defeated Brown and taken his Senate seat in the 2012 election.

 

Born September 12, 1959, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Scott Philip Brown grew up in Wakefield, Massachusetts, after his parents divorced when he was an infant. Brown had a rocky, unstable childhood. At times his working mother relied on welfare benefits to pay the bills, and sometimes Brown went to live with relatives. In his autobiography, Against All Odds, Brown revealed that he was physically abused by certain stepfathers, and was sexually abused at age ten by a camp counselor who threatened to kill him if he told anyone. Around age 14, he was caught shoplifting but a judge gave him a break, requiring him to write an essay while keeping him out of the juvenile system. Brown later said, “that was the last time I ever stole.”

 

Brown graduated Wakefield High School in 1977. He earned a B.A. in History at Tufts University in 1981 and a J.D. at Boston College Law School in 1985. After law school, Brown founded a real estate law practice in Wrentham, Massachusetts, which he maintained for 25 years. But he had other sources of income as well.

 

Brown’s other career was modeling, which started in June 1982, when he won Cosmopolitan magazine’s “America’s Sexiest Man” contest. He was featured in the magazine’s centerfold, posing nude but with his private parts strategically obscured. In an interview, he called himself “a bit of a patriot” who had political ambitions. Paid $1,000 for the Cosmo layout, Brown took a leave of absence from law school to pursue modeling in New York, returning to Boston after almost two years. He continued to model, enjoying a “long, lucrative” part-time catalog and print modeling career during the 1980s.

 

After ten years of modeling and seven years of law practice, Brown finally acted on his political ambitions. In 1992 he was elected property assessor of Wrentham, and in 1995 he was elected to the Wrentham Board of Selectmen. In 1998, Brown ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Republican, eventually winning three two-year terms. In March 2004 he won a special election for a state Senate seat, and served three terms there as well.

 

In January 2010, Brown shocked the political world by winning a special election to fill the remainder of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s unfinished term, after Kennedy died. The first Republican to win a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts since 1972, Brown lasted only two years in the Senate, before losing his reelection bid to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Nevertheless, his mere presence in the Senate ended a short-lived Democratic super-majority, and ensured that many of President Barack Obama’s proposals would be blocked by Republican filibuster threats.

 

After his election defeat, Brown joined the board of directors of Kadant, Inc., became a Fox News commentator, and was hired by the Nixon Peabody law firm.

 

Brown served 35 years in the Army National Guard, joining in 1978 and retiring in 2014 with the rank of colonel. Mostly, he served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. During his federal election campaigns, Brown was criticized for politicizing his Guard service.

 

Brown later established residence in New Hampshire, where he and his wife have owned a home for years, and ran for the Senate in 2014. Although he won the Republican nomination handily, Brown lost in the general election to Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.

 

In August 2016, in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News, former host Andrea Tantaros accused Brown of making “a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros” and alleges that on one occasion Brown “snuck up behind Tantaros … and put his hands on her lower waist.” Brown has denied the allegations, but the lawsuit is still active.

 

Brown is married to reporter Gail Huff, whom he met through modeling. They have two daughters, Ayla and Arianna. In addition to their primary home in Rye, New Hampshire, the couple owns three rental condos in Boston, and a timeshare on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Well Played, Future Ambassador Scott Brown (by Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe)

Why Scott Brown Lost the New Hampshire Senate Race (by Eileen McNamara, WBUR)

A Lost Boy, Seared by Abuse, he Somehow Found his Way (by Sally Jacobs, Boston Globe) 

more

Previous U.S. Ambassador to Samoa

Gilbert, Mark
ambassador-image

 

President Barack Obama nominated Mark David Gilbert to be ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa on October 30, 2013. Because Gilbert’s nomination was not taken up before the end of the year, Obama had to renominate him on January 6, 2014. Gilbert’s nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and it now awaits approval by the full Senate. A major campaign bundler, he raised $1.2 million for Obama’s various campaigns.

 

Gilbert was on Obama’s team long before he was on Obama’s campaign and diplomatic teams. Gilbert played seven games in 1985 for the Chicago White Sox, whose most famous fan is the president.

 

Gilbert was born in Atlanta on August 22, 1956. While he was growing up, his father and grandfather owned a furniture store in P{ompano Beach, Florida. Gilbert was raised in a baseball family. His father had played in the White Sox organization and his grandfather had been offered a tryout by baseball legend Connie Mack. Gilbert played baseball and basketball for Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale and went to Florida State University, where he earned a degree in finance.

 

He was drafted in the 14th round in 1978 by the Chicago Cubs. He was later sent to the Cincinnati Reds organization and after the 1984 season, Gilbert signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox. Sent to triple-A Buffalo, he was called up to the big club in late July to replace a player who’d gone on the disabled list. Gilbert played in seven games in one week, hitting a respectable .273 with three runs batted in. But he injured his knee and was sent back to Buffalo and never played in the majors again.

 

In 1986, Gilbert started putting his finance degree to use, taking a job as an investment banker with Drexel Burnham Lambert. He moved to Goldman Sachs in 1989 as a vice president in their equities division, concentrating on bringing in wealthy clients. In 1996, Gilbert was lured to Lehman Bros. to perform the same type of work. He moved to Barclays after it acquired the assets of Lehman in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.

 

Gilbert has been a long-time supporter of Democratic candidates. He was on the Democratic finance committee during the campaign of the man who would now become his boss, John Kerry. Gilbert was an early supporter of Obama, joining his national finance committee in 2007, and serving again in 2011-2012. After the 2008 election, Gilbert served as deputy national finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2013.

 

Gilbert and his wife Nancy have two daughters: Dani, who worked for Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Elizabeth.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

New US Ambassador’s Appointment Delayed (by Kurt Bayer, New Zealand Herald)

Former Baseball Player On Deck To Become US Ambassador (by Ben Walker, Associated Press)

more
Bookmark and Share
News
more less
Overview
The heart of Polynesia, Samoa has been an interesting experiment in preserving culture. The first in the Pacific to free themselves of colonial rule, becoming independent in 1962 as Western Samoa, the Samoans crafted a constitution that allowed only family chiefs, known as Matai, to vote and run for office. Recent reforms have allowed all Samoans to vote, but still only Matai can be elected. The policy slowed development and thousands of Samoans migrated to Australia, nearby American Samoa, or the United States. Yet island groups who did not deliberately try to preserve their culture also lost thousands of islanders seeking employment and a more modern lifestyle. Today Samoa’s culture remains strong and development, slow as it is, has provided enough to help the government stay financially in the black.
more less
Basic Information
Location: Samoa is located in the center of Polynesia, just north of Tonga. It has an area of 2,944 square kilometers, almost all of it on the two main islands of Savaii and Upolu. The islands are volcanic with rugged central mountainous spines and narrow coastal plains.
Population: 217,000 (2008 est)
 
Religions: Congregationalists 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Mormon 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Center 1.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.1%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesian (Polynesian and European mix) 7%, European 0.4%.
 
Languages: Samoan, English.
 

 

more less
History
Samoa has been settled for at least 2,500 years. It had frequent contact with Fiji and Tonga, sometimes paying tribute to or being conquered by one or the other. After contact with Europeans, a quickly growing expatriate community of beachcombers, traders, plantation owners, and  missionaries developed. In the mid-1800s the Samoans became embroiled in their own civil wars to determine the next Tupu-o-Samoa, or paramount chief of Samoa. The Samoans began selling land to Europeans and Americans to buy guns to fight their wars. The Americans, Germans, and British supported different Samoan factions, each hoping their man would become high chief and bring the stability of a central government. When the wars ended, the Samoans found much of their land in foreign hands, and the Europeans found that the Tupu-o-Samoa was only a ceremonial chief and really had no power to rule over the villages. Rivalries continued, and the expatriates began beseeching their home governments to come in and take over. Eventually deals were worked out that divided Samoa. In 1899 the United States took over what is now American Samoa, with its great harbor at Pago Pago and Germany took over Western Samoa, now called Samoa. The Samoans did not appreciate losing their independence, and began the Mau Movement to regain it. Some leaders of the movement were exiled to the Northern Marianas. New Zealand troops occupied Samoa during World War I, and after the war New Zealand administered the group as a League of Nations mandated territory. The Samoans continued the Mau Movement against New Zealand control. One demonstration ended in violence with several deaths. After World War II, Western Samoa became a United Nations trust territory administered by New Zealand. In 1962, Western Samoa became the first Pacific island group to become independent from colonial rule. The new constitution required preserving the culture, and only family chiefs, known as matai, were allowed to run for office or vote. Economic development was quite slow, and thousands of Samoans migrated to New Zealand and elsewhere. In 1990 the constitution was amended to allow all adult Samoans to vote, but still only matai can run for the legislature. In 1997, the “Western” was dropped from the name and the group became just Samoa.

 

more less
Samoa's Newspapers
more less
History of U.S. Relations with Samoa
There have been no serious issues or disputes between Samoa and the United States since Samoan independence in 1962. Samoa is closely tied to New Zealand, with a strong treaty of friendship that includes, among other things, military defense by New Zealand.
more less
Current U.S. Relations with Samoa
The United States maintains a one-officer diplomatic mission in Apia, but there is no ambassador in residence as the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand is also accredited with Samoa. Relations between the two countries are good. The United States maintains a strong Peace Corps presence in Samoa.
 
There are more than 90,000 Samoans living in the United States, but there is no data on how many are from Samoa and how many are from American Samoa. There are large Samoan communities in Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. Smaller communities can be found in Laie, Hawaii; Oakland, California; and even Independence, Missouri.
more less
Where Does the Money Flow
In 2007 the United States imported goods worth $5.4 million from Samoa. The largest category was in fruits and fruit juices. That same year the United States exported goods worth $16.7 million to Samoa, with the main categories being fish, meat, other foods, and electric apparatus. The U.S. aid request for Samoa for 2008 was only for $40,000 to help its police force enforce maritime laws. There is also a large Peace Corps presence in Samoa
 
more less
Controversies
more less
Human Rights
There are no major human rights issues in Samoa. Minor ones include poor prison conditions, limitations on religious freedom, and the refusal to allow non-matai to run for office.
 
more less
Debate
more less
Past Ambassadors
Charles J. Swindells 2/12/02-8/21/05
Carol Moseley-Braun 2/8/00-3.1.01 Moseley-Braun served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1993-1999. She is the first and to date only African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Josiah Horton Beeman 5/31/94-12/9/99
Sylvia Stanfield (Charge d’Affairs ad interim) 8/93-5/94
David Walker (Charge d’Affairs ad interim) 12/92-8/93
Della M. Newman 11/16/89-12/21/92
Paul Matthews Cleveland 8/20/86-4/28/89
H. Monroe Brown 9/18/81-11/1/85
Anne Clark Martindell 9/17/79-5/7/81
Armistead I. Selden Jr. 5/16/74-4/23/79
Kenneth Franzheim II 6/14/71-11/11/72
 
more less
Samoa's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Elisaia, Aliioaiga Feturi

Samoa’s ambassador to the United States is Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia. He is also Samoa’s Permanent Representative for Samoa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Samoa’s ambassador to Canada. Elisaia earned a degree in political science and administration from the University of the South Pacific and also studied diplomacy at Oxford. Most of his career has been spent in Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although he was first secretary to the Samoa High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand.  Elisaia took over his ambassadorial posts in April 2003 when the previous ambassador, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, was chosen to serve as a judge on the International Criminal Court.
 

more less
Samoa's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
more less

Comments

randy cirksena jr 5 years ago
i believe my great uncle jim wright was a former ambassador to american samoa. can you help me confirm this, and provide me with dates of his service? he was married to my great aunt donna stewart wright. thank you randy cirksena jr. 507-373-7717 office
Susan Jerrell 8 years ago
Hello: Can you please advise me if I can do some volunteer work at the LA Consulate office to help with sunami relief? I can't seem to find a contact number or e-mail for them. Thank you so much. Susan Jerrell

Leave a comment

U.S. Ambassador to Samoa

Brown, Scott
ambassador-image

The latest U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa is a former politician who is accustomed to relocating to follow his ambitions. Scott Brown, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts who moved to New Hampshire in order to restart his political career, was nominated by President Trump on April 20, 2017, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 8, 2017. Many New Zealanders are unhappy with the selection.

 

Brown’s confirmation was nearly unanimous, with only four votes against him, each of them Democrats—Senators Cory Booker (New Jersey), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (California). He received enthusiastic support from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who had defeated Brown and taken his Senate seat in the 2012 election.

 

Born September 12, 1959, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Scott Philip Brown grew up in Wakefield, Massachusetts, after his parents divorced when he was an infant. Brown had a rocky, unstable childhood. At times his working mother relied on welfare benefits to pay the bills, and sometimes Brown went to live with relatives. In his autobiography, Against All Odds, Brown revealed that he was physically abused by certain stepfathers, and was sexually abused at age ten by a camp counselor who threatened to kill him if he told anyone. Around age 14, he was caught shoplifting but a judge gave him a break, requiring him to write an essay while keeping him out of the juvenile system. Brown later said, “that was the last time I ever stole.”

 

Brown graduated Wakefield High School in 1977. He earned a B.A. in History at Tufts University in 1981 and a J.D. at Boston College Law School in 1985. After law school, Brown founded a real estate law practice in Wrentham, Massachusetts, which he maintained for 25 years. But he had other sources of income as well.

 

Brown’s other career was modeling, which started in June 1982, when he won Cosmopolitan magazine’s “America’s Sexiest Man” contest. He was featured in the magazine’s centerfold, posing nude but with his private parts strategically obscured. In an interview, he called himself “a bit of a patriot” who had political ambitions. Paid $1,000 for the Cosmo layout, Brown took a leave of absence from law school to pursue modeling in New York, returning to Boston after almost two years. He continued to model, enjoying a “long, lucrative” part-time catalog and print modeling career during the 1980s.

 

After ten years of modeling and seven years of law practice, Brown finally acted on his political ambitions. In 1992 he was elected property assessor of Wrentham, and in 1995 he was elected to the Wrentham Board of Selectmen. In 1998, Brown ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Republican, eventually winning three two-year terms. In March 2004 he won a special election for a state Senate seat, and served three terms there as well.

 

In January 2010, Brown shocked the political world by winning a special election to fill the remainder of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s unfinished term, after Kennedy died. The first Republican to win a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts since 1972, Brown lasted only two years in the Senate, before losing his reelection bid to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Nevertheless, his mere presence in the Senate ended a short-lived Democratic super-majority, and ensured that many of President Barack Obama’s proposals would be blocked by Republican filibuster threats.

 

After his election defeat, Brown joined the board of directors of Kadant, Inc., became a Fox News commentator, and was hired by the Nixon Peabody law firm.

 

Brown served 35 years in the Army National Guard, joining in 1978 and retiring in 2014 with the rank of colonel. Mostly, he served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. During his federal election campaigns, Brown was criticized for politicizing his Guard service.

 

Brown later established residence in New Hampshire, where he and his wife have owned a home for years, and ran for the Senate in 2014. Although he won the Republican nomination handily, Brown lost in the general election to Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.

 

In August 2016, in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News, former host Andrea Tantaros accused Brown of making “a number of sexually inappropriate comments to Tantaros” and alleges that on one occasion Brown “snuck up behind Tantaros … and put his hands on her lower waist.” Brown has denied the allegations, but the lawsuit is still active.

 

Brown is married to reporter Gail Huff, whom he met through modeling. They have two daughters, Ayla and Arianna. In addition to their primary home in Rye, New Hampshire, the couple owns three rental condos in Boston, and a timeshare on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Well Played, Future Ambassador Scott Brown (by Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe)

Why Scott Brown Lost the New Hampshire Senate Race (by Eileen McNamara, WBUR)

A Lost Boy, Seared by Abuse, he Somehow Found his Way (by Sally Jacobs, Boston Globe) 

more

Previous U.S. Ambassador to Samoa

Gilbert, Mark
ambassador-image

 

President Barack Obama nominated Mark David Gilbert to be ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa on October 30, 2013. Because Gilbert’s nomination was not taken up before the end of the year, Obama had to renominate him on January 6, 2014. Gilbert’s nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and it now awaits approval by the full Senate. A major campaign bundler, he raised $1.2 million for Obama’s various campaigns.

 

Gilbert was on Obama’s team long before he was on Obama’s campaign and diplomatic teams. Gilbert played seven games in 1985 for the Chicago White Sox, whose most famous fan is the president.

 

Gilbert was born in Atlanta on August 22, 1956. While he was growing up, his father and grandfather owned a furniture store in P{ompano Beach, Florida. Gilbert was raised in a baseball family. His father had played in the White Sox organization and his grandfather had been offered a tryout by baseball legend Connie Mack. Gilbert played baseball and basketball for Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale and went to Florida State University, where he earned a degree in finance.

 

He was drafted in the 14th round in 1978 by the Chicago Cubs. He was later sent to the Cincinnati Reds organization and after the 1984 season, Gilbert signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox. Sent to triple-A Buffalo, he was called up to the big club in late July to replace a player who’d gone on the disabled list. Gilbert played in seven games in one week, hitting a respectable .273 with three runs batted in. But he injured his knee and was sent back to Buffalo and never played in the majors again.

 

In 1986, Gilbert started putting his finance degree to use, taking a job as an investment banker with Drexel Burnham Lambert. He moved to Goldman Sachs in 1989 as a vice president in their equities division, concentrating on bringing in wealthy clients. In 1996, Gilbert was lured to Lehman Bros. to perform the same type of work. He moved to Barclays after it acquired the assets of Lehman in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.

 

Gilbert has been a long-time supporter of Democratic candidates. He was on the Democratic finance committee during the campaign of the man who would now become his boss, John Kerry. Gilbert was an early supporter of Obama, joining his national finance committee in 2007, and serving again in 2011-2012. After the 2008 election, Gilbert served as deputy national finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2013.

 

Gilbert and his wife Nancy have two daughters: Dani, who worked for Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Elizabeth.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

New US Ambassador’s Appointment Delayed (by Kurt Bayer, New Zealand Herald)

Former Baseball Player On Deck To Become US Ambassador (by Ben Walker, Associated Press)

more