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Speaker assigns House committees — sending message to opposition

[l-r] Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, and Chief Justice Michael Kruse,

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The four faipule assumed to have not fully supported the re-election of Savali Talavou Ale as House Speaker for the next two years, were not given chairmanship or membership roles in any of the 16 standing House committees for the 36th Legislature, which officially opened on Monday.

This is according to the House Committee list assignments distributed and approved yesterday during the House session.

Based on a review of the committee list, the four faipule without chairmanships or memberships are: incumbent Rep. Vailoata Eteuati Amituana’i and newly sworn-in faipules, Larry Sanitoa, Vesiai Poyer Samuelu and Andra Samoa — the only female House member.

Of interest is the House Commerce, Economic Development/ Retirement Committee, which has 16-members including chairman, Samuel Ioka Ale Meleisea; and is the largest committee for the House.

It is also the committee whose members — in past years — have traveled to Honolulu for the ASG Retirement Fund meeting, which is held every two years with off island investors and money people. The off-island Retirement Fund meeting is this year, and is set to be held next month.

It should be noted that the Retirement Fund picks up the tab for both faipule and senators and Fono leaders usually travel with the Fono delegation. Traditionally the whole House committee — which in this case would be the 16 members — travel to the meeting. Further support staff travel also, but their tab is normally picked up by the Fono budget from both the Senate and the House.

For the new 36th Legislature Rep. Fetu Fetui Jr., retained his Vice Speaker post as well as chairman of the House Rules Committee.

The following is the list of committees and their chairman:

•    Budget and Appropriations — Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi

•    Ways and Means — Tupua Shaun Va’a

•    Government Operations — Faimealelei Anthony Allen

•    Education and Scholarship — Vaetasi Tuumolimoli Moliga

•    Health — Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Jr

•    Legal Affairs & Judiciary — Afalava Gafatasi

•    Public Safety/Local Government/Youth & Women’s Affairs — Manumaua Wayne Wilson

•    Homeland Security — Luaitaua Gene Pan

•    Communications — Logoituau Mark Atafua

•    Social Services/TAOA/Election Office — Titialii Kitara Vaiau

•    Public Works/Parks & Recreation — Loia Gutu

•    American Samoa Power Authority — Timusa Tini Lam Yuen

•    Port Administration and Transportation —Tiaoalii Fau T. Sai

•    Agriculture/Marine & Wildlife/Forestry — Su’a Alexander E. Jennings