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Faleomavaega wins 13th consecutive term

Joined in Congress by another American Samoan, Tulsi Gabbard
fili@samoanews.com
Congressman Faleomavaega Eni (left) smiled for a Samoa News photo yesterday morning along with one of the local residents who stopped to shake hands with him while he was waiving on the roadside fronting Utulei Beach. Faleomavaega was thanking residents for re-electing him to Congress for a historic 13th term. [photo: FS]

More than 7,000 ballots were cast Tuesday in the general election to return Congressman Faleomavaega Eni as the territory’s non voting Delegate to the U.S. House for a 13th consecutive two year term, and when the new U.S. Congress  is sworn in next January, there will be two American Samoans who are members of the U.S. House.

Faleomavaega will be joined by Tulsi Gabbard, who was elected Tuesday night from Hawai’i’s Second District. The pair are both Democrats.

Of the total 12,895 ballots counted in the congressional race, Faleomavaega received 7,221 votes; followed by Aumua Amata with 4,420 votes; Rosie F. Tago Lancaster with 543, Kereti Mata’utia Jr. with 411 and Fatumalala Leulua'iali'i A. Al-Shehri with 300, according to the unofficial results.

In the 2010 general election, total votes counted were 10,971 with Faleomavaega getting 6,176, Aumua Amata with 4,438, and Tuika Tuika receiving 357. Then in the 2008 election, a total of 11,342 votes  were counted and Faleomavaega received 6,895 votes, followed by Amata with 4,004 and Fualaau Rosie Tago Lancaster with 443 votes.

As in past elections, Aumua continues to dominate Manu’a precincts, and this year, she again won the hearts of Manu’a voters.

Yesterday morning Faleomavaega was seen along the roadside fronting Utulei Beach, waving to motorists, who would honk their horns in response. Several motorists stopped to shake hands with Faleomavaega, who had a sign next to him, saying “Thank You American Samoa” for re-electing him for another term in office.

Several people walked to Utulei Beach to shake hands with the incumbent, who has been representing American Samoa in Congress since 1989 and has yet to lose an election.

In an interview along the roadside, Faleomavaega congratulated his challengers for a well fought battle for the seat in Washington D.C. and thanked them for taking up the task of running for public office. He said he always respects the desire of local residents to serve American Samoa when they run for public office.

“Like I have said before, this is what democracy is all about — candidates running for office and voters making the decision. The will of the people has been made known,” he said. “And like I have always said, ‘this position does not belong to Faleomavaega, it belongs to the people of Tutuila and Manu’a.”

“And I am always very grateful to the people of Tutuila and Manu’a for giving me this opportunity to serve them again for the next two year term. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

(In tomorrow’s edition, Faleomavaega’s has advice for whomever will be elected later this month as governor and lieutenant governor in the gubernatorial run-off election)

Asked for his reaction to the outcome of the U.S. presidential race, where Hawai’i born Barack Obama was re-elected Tuesday to another four years, Faleomavaega first gave a very big smile.

“I am very very happy that President Obama has been re-elected for another four year term,” he said, adding that he has always been a strong supporter of Obama.

“My hope — within the next four years — Obama is going to be traveling in the Pacific, and hopefully he’ll have a chance to stop by... in American Samoa,” he said. “You never know. I’m not making promises, but I will try to convince him to stop here. This is going to be one of my projects, in the next two years of my term in office.”

In early 2010 both Faleomavaega and Gov. Togiola Tulafono made separate requests to Obama for a visit to the territory while he was visiting the Pacific region, but the president was not able to do so.

The only president to ever visit American Samoa was Lyndon B. Johnson in the early 1960s. In honor of his visit, the territory’s hospital in Fagaalu is named after him.



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