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“We will make ourselves available” says outgoing governor

Out-going Gov. Togiola Tulafono says he and First Lady Mary Ann do not have any specific plans for the future at this point. They will leave office today, Jan. 3, 2013, when the new administration takes office.

Speaking on his weekend radio program, the governor said that during his entire tenure as governor, his main focus was always on the job he was elected to do and he wants to continue that until his last day in office.

He says that maybe on Jan. 4, 2013 there will be thoughts about future plans along with the First Lady, but “it really is going to depend on our health.”

“We [will] still make ourselves available to the country for public service wherever we can serve, but it’s going to depend on whether or not the people want us to serve them,” he said, and noted that it was never “our choice to put ourselves out there” to run for public office, but “it was only when people asked us, and we will continue to follow the voice of the community.”

“If their voice is that we have served enough, then that’s what we will do. It’s just going to depend on what the community feels about the need for our services,” he said.

The governor thanked the people of American Samoa for giving him and Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia a chance to serve the public and the government through these more than eight years.

Togiola and Faoa’s first term in office began on April 2003 after they took the oath of office, following the sudden passing of Gov. Tauese P.F. Sunia. Togiola became governor and Faoa was appointed and confirmed by the Fono as the next lieutenant governor.

Togiola and Faoa’s first elected term in office followed the November 2004 general election, and they were re-elected in 2008.

On his radio program, the governor said the new leaders have been elected by the voters, and he wished them the best, and success in the future. He called on the community to support the new administration of governor-elect Lolo Matalasi Moliga and lieutenant governor-elect Lemanu Peleti Sialega Mauga.

To his cabinet, Togiola directed his thanks for their support through the years as they worked towards the same goal — a better government to serve the people. He wished his cabinet all the best as they venture out looking for new jobs, as well as being with their families, who he said became last on their list of priorities due to their work as cabinet directors.