House confirms Solip Hong on ASPA board

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s nomination of Solip Hong to the American Samoa Power Authority board of directors was confirmed by the House yesterday in a 16-2 vote. The Senate vote is expected today after a Senate Power, Energy and Water Committee confirmation hearing.

 

Hong’s nomination was introduced in the House on Saturday while it was introduced in the Senate on Sunday.

 

“This nominee demonstrates my commitment to the development of our young generation through the provision of opportunities for them to assume positions of responsibility and leadership under the tutelage of experienced and seasoned professionals charged with the important duty of establishing a public utility system which is reliable and sensitive to the socio-economic status of the people of American Samoa,” the governor wrote in his nomination letter to the Fono.

 

Hong is a 2005 graduate of the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

 

Lolo says Hong’s education was self-financed with assistance from the University of San Francisco which he later reimbursed. “This experience gave Mr. Hong special appreciation and great sensitivity to the value of money and hard work,” said the governor, adding that Hong has worked in the private sector since he graduated from college and he is currently the operations manager for K.S. Mart.

 

HOUSE HEARING

 

Hong appeared yesterday morning before the House ASPA Committee for his confirmation hearing  where Rep. Pulele’iite Liamatua Tufele commended the nominee for returning home to help with family owned business K.S. Mart, as well as helping his parents. He says Hong is now a nominee to an executive board paving the way for him to serve the government and the people.

 

Pulele’iite then asked if K.S. Mart uses any solar panel, to which the nominee replied no, due to the fact the company’s operation is a large one which requires sufficient electricity to ensure the freezers get enough power. Hong did say that he is supportive of alternative energy methods.

 

All of the committee members who spoke during the 35-minute hearing praised the governor’s selection of a new generation of American Samoans to serve on ASG boards, such as ASPA and lawmakers also said that with Hong’s financial background, he would be a great asset to ASPA.

 

Rep. Atualevao Gafatasi Afalava said it's his wish and dream that the young generation of American Samoans return home to serve the government and he thanked Hong for doing so.

 

He recalled statements by two senators during ASPA’s FY 2014 budget hearing calling for the ASPA board to forgive the government utility debt of $9.4 million; and asked the nominee to have the board consider forgiving ASG’s debt if he is fully confirmed by the Fono.

 

Rep. Larry Sanitoa made note to the nominee that ASPA probably “has the best CEO” when it comes to utilities in the Pacific region and ASPA also has the best board chairman, with both having many years of experience in utilities.

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