Afoa and Le’i are ready to take on the role of leadership

A look at some of the more than 1,300 supporters at the Afoa & Le'i 2012 "Meet the Candidates" event held on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at the Gov. Rex H. Lee Auditorium. [courtesy photo]

Samoa News reported in Monday’s edition on gubernatorial candidates Afoa Leulumoega Su’esu’e Lutu and Le’i Sonny Thompson “Meet the Candidates” event held on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Unfortunately, the unedited version was inadvertently used in the print edition, resulting in published typos and an incomplete story. 

Samoa News apologizes to its readers, Afoa & Le’i and supports of the gubernatorial team for the unintentional error and is posting the story again here for print readers who may have missed the correct version on the website yesterday.

The “Meet the Candidates” with Afoa Leulumoega Su’esu’e Lutu and Le’i Sonny Thompson last Saturday afternoon at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium, was where Gov. Togiola Tulafono, in an unscheduled speech, said that Afoa is a leader who is ready to take on the office of Governor for American Samoa.

“If Afoa steps up to the plate and he gets your blessing he will be a good transition governor, he can do the job, he’s smart, honest and he can do it,” said Togiola, who was not listed on the event’s program as one of the speakers during the function.

He spoke after the two candidates scheduled speeches to their supporters, which numbered a 1000 plus during the “Meet the Candidates” event.

The event was kicked off with prayers and a message from Reverends Ioane Evagelai of the CCCAS Utulei and Lalomauga Pa’au of the CCCAS Fagaalu with the hymn sung by Arthur Lam Yuen’s family.

Campaign committees and Chervon Matai offered entertainment. There were also endorsement speeches by member of the community, including, Vesi Matu’u, Carol Baqui, Taimotu Tiauli, and others.


Lt. governor candidate Le’i, who was first to give his speech, said that a question has been asked if he and Afoa are ready to take on the government. He responded, “Yes! With all out heart we say please give us your blessings, we are ready.”

In a rousing speech that at times had supporters banging on tables and enthusiastically clapping in positive agreement to the candidate’s remarks, Le’i said that this election has been very different, because we have been under the same leadership for nearly 16 years and have received more than nine billion dollars from the Federal government in grants and mandated operational funds.

According to Lei’, with $9 Billion for fewer than 60,000 people the territory should have been in a much better position financially. “How about our roads, our schools, jobs or lack thereof, infrastructure, social and political status? The list goes on and on.

“Making the right decision in electing the right leaders is very crucial to the future of our people, our government and perhaps more importantly than even before — the future of our children and our future generations.”

Le’i thanked Togiola and Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia for their efforts in getting the government to where it is today. He extended his appreciation to former governors Tauese Sunia, A.P. Lutali and Peter Coleman and their teams for their service.

“We know it’s not an easy task, to govern let alone trying to govern American Samoa, with its limited natural resources, and constant dependency on the Federal government for money, and our isolated location from the rest of the world.

“For American Samoa, times have changed in the world as we know it today, and it is constantly and rapidly changing in ways that affect us economically, technologically, socially, politically and culturally.”

Le’i said, “We are the most qualified and experienced leaders, with the know-how and vision, in integrity and courage, to make bold decisions and yet savvy enough to exercise democracy. To achieve local and global results, we need leaders with convictions, perseverance, and love for our people.

“We need people who can say the buck stops here.”  We need leaders with a no non-sense attitude who will hold people accountable for their actions, yet at the same time American Samoa, leaders not afraid to say I am sorry, I made a mistake.

“We need leaders who lead by example and possess the determination to help those who are lacking; we need leaders who believe in American Samoa or Samoa for that matter … Samoa muamua le Atua (God First).

“We need leaders who promote equal opportunities for all and foster their advancements only through a system of merits; anything less American Samoa is unacceptable.

“We need leaders who believe that the future of American Samoa truly lies with the development of our today’s younger generation and at the same time we need leaders who develop and seek programs to take care of our elders and those with disabilities.

“We need leaders who understand that all military veterans and their families are no less important than those who have not served in the military, and must create programs to meet their specific needs.

“We need leaders who care about the people of Manu’a and consider the best solutions, to solve their problems.”

Le’i said he accepted Afoa’s decision to be his running mate because he trusts him, because Afoa is the best man to be governor at this point in time. “I ask you American Samoa, humbly that you trust and believe in him too.

“Afoa has the perseverance, convictions and the courage to be our next governor. Our Federal and local government work and decision making experiences, private sector employment experiences, cultural, church and family experiences, makes us the best qualified and most experienced leaders who can get American Samoa moving in the right direction, if elected by you the people into the offices of Governor and Lt. Governor.”

Le’i said exercise your voting rights to say enough is enough; you have the power to change the course American Samoa is currently on, that power is displayed through your vote.            “Afoa and I still and will always believe in American Samoa and the possibility of a brighter future and we ask you not give up hope either — we, the people of American Samoa deserve better, and have the chance now to make a real difference.

“Afoa and I will ensure that it’s beneficial to all and not just a few.”


Afoa when he spoke opted not to use his prepared speech, noting that other people had already spoken of the message he was about to give.

He said during the time he was trying to decide if he was running for office this year, given his past experiences of running for public office, he came up with their slogan, “Please give us your blessing — fa’amolemole to maia lau pule.

“My slogan to me is a prayer in the morning and every time of the day when you feel that you need assistance and ask.

“Please Lord give us your blessing, not only for me, but for everybody else and for our government. Why? Because he’s the only God, the only Lord and he’s the only Authority that can give the blessing to us.”

He added that he has a plan laid out for the government and it will be in the newspaper each week, announced on the radio each week and on television each week.  

“Life is not easy, it’s hard, but when you choose a leader, you choose a person with compassion and a person that you can trust, that you can depend on,” said Afoa.

At the end of his speech, Afoa recognized special guests that attended the Meet the Candidates event. Turning to Togiola, he thanked him for being present and told him, “You made my day.” He then asked Utu Abe Malae to stand and be recognized for his presence, and also extended his thanks to Sen. Mauga Tasi Asuega for attending the function.


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