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Flag Day dedicated to Gov. Togiola for his long service

The 2012 Flag Day will be dedicated to Gov. Togiola Tulafono, who will deliver his last Flag Day address in this year’s two-day event set for Apr. 17 and 18 at the Veterans Memorial Stadium. The governor’s address will occur at the Flag Day opening on Apr. 17, along with the flag raising and parade.

In an Apr. 9 general memorandum, Togiola declared the two days to be observed as Flag Day holidays in American Samoa and all local government offices will be closed and all normal activities will be suspended on those days.

ASG employees not required to work on those days will be excused and those required to work will receive holiday pay in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

During a cabinet meeting Monday at the governor’s office, Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia, co-chair of the 2012 Flag Day Committee told directors that this year’s flag day will be dedicated to the governor and “reminisce” his achievements, according to two directors who attended the meeting.

Faoa said Togiola is the longest serving governor of the territory.

Togiola informed cabinet members that if they don’t receive an invitation or information about any and all festivities for the Flag Day to still attend these events, which include a Flag Day State dinner the evening of Apr. 17, at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium.

Togiola, a former police officer and an attorney by profession, marked his nine years as the territory’s chief executive on Apr. 7, 2012. He was sworn in as governor on Apr. 7, 2003, following the sudden death of Gov. Tauese P.F. Sunia, who passed away in late March of 2003 onboard a Polynesian Airlines flight from Apia, Samoa to Honolulu.

Togiola, a Democrat, was elected to his first term as governor during the November 2004 general election and was re-elected in November four years later. He is barred under local statute from seeking a third consecutive four-year term.

His current term officially ends before 12noon on Jan. 3, 2013, when a new governor and lieutenant governor will take the oath of office.

Prior to serving as governor, Togiola was the lieutenant governor for the Tauese Administration since January 1997.

A graduate of Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, Togiola was appointed as a District Court judge in 1978 and served in that capacity until 1980 when he was was elected as a Senator from Sa’ole County (1980-1984) and then from Sua County (1989-1996), according to his government profile. He earned his law degree in 1975 from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas.

The 65-year old governor had served in various capacities in the American Samoa Government, including a post of chairman of the inaugural American Samoa Power Authority board of directors from 1979 to 1983. He has also served in various posts within the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa, including chairman in 2004.

He is currently District President for the American Samoa District, Boy Scouts of America and a member of the Lions Club of Pago Pago.