On the Campaign Trail 2012

L-R Governor Candidate Lolo Letalu Moliga, Chamber of Commerce Chairman David Robinson and Lt Governor Candidate Lemanu Peleti Mauga following their presentation to the business community on their plan of action for economic development of the territory. (Courtesy Photo)


by Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu

Candidates for governor and Lt. governor Lolo Letalu Moliga and Senator Lemanu Peleti Mauga told members of American Samoa Chamber of Commerce Thursday that partnerships between the public and private sectors of the territory must be developed to provide the services needed by the people for economic success.

The forum was held at the Tradewinds Hotel and was attended by about 20 business members of the Chamber.

In their opening statement, Lolo told members of the Chamber the American Samoa Government is very a disconnected government, which is the main problem faced by the territory today, because the government cannot seem to the provide the services our people need.

He said that Team Lolo and Lemanu’s economic philosophy is very simple, the private sector and the public sector must partner up to provide the needed services to the people.

“The political leaders tend to develop their [own] political agenda instead of focusing on developing the private sector and the public sector, ” Lolo acknowledged.

He said that globally we’re facing an economic situation that is beyond our control, and what we need to understand is how we can better use the resources that are available to us.

 The candidate for governor said every gubernatorial candidate speaks the same language and the question that arises is: What can you do?

He said there are three areas that if the government follows there will be no question about success.


“We will create policies and create an environment for businesses to be nurtured and be successful, whatever local policy that needs to be changed in order to do that we will look into it,” Lolo stated.

Pointing to tax exemptions, he noted “there are tax exemptions that are given for some businesses but not to everyone”; why not give it to all businesses that create jobs for the public. “Job creation is a result of a good business.”

Lolo said, “We pledge to you if you give more jobs to our people we will find every incentive to give to you.”


“We need to create a better relationship with the federal government,” Lolo said, “because they have the money.” And, further, “unless we improve our relationship with the [federal] government we will not go anywhere,” he stated.

Lolo pointed to the promises the US government made when they signed the deed with the territory’s forefathers and said they would “do everything in our power to make sure the Federal government is committed to our people.”

He explained there were four important promises the Federal government made:

1.         They promised to educate our people to the level as equal as the children in the US

2.         They would provide health care as equal as what they are providing for those in the US

3.         They will develop our economy as equal to that of the US, and

4.         They will preserve our culture and our traditions to make sure the Samoan customs continue on.

The gubernatorial candidate said when their team takes office they’ll make sure the Federal government pays attention to the territory, and in particular, they cannot take the sovereignty of the Manu’a people for nothing.

“Do you want to take your children to a school here where we don’t know where it stands, do you want to take your wife to our health clinics — these are a just a few areas that need improvements,” he said.

“What’s happening today, is the US State Department is building a $50 million hospital in Samoa,” Lolo said, as an example of the need for a closer relationship with the federal government.

Lolo also touched base on American Samoa’s political status, saying “as long as we remain an unorganized and unincorporated government the full force of the Constitution of the United States does not apply locally…That’s why the federal government cannot do anything to those who misappropriate our local funds.”

“We live under the mercy of the Federal government, and we need to improve that relationship,” he stated.


“We need cash injection into our economy… We need to open up all federal programs that can bring in new monies,” Lolo said, using the 1602 low income housing program as an example. He noted that through this program he was able to bring down $30 million new monies into the territory.

“We need to find better ways to bringing down more money,” Lolo said, noting there is a lot of money under the EPA funding; and with Medicaid: Why do we get a 55/45 ratio and everywhere in the US they have a 75/25 ratio.


He said there are four pillars or values the Lolo and Lemanu team are focused on:

Unity, the leaders must unite to find common solutions to the problems that affect the people.

Equality, a major responsibility of government is to provide equal opportunity for each individual citizen to have the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Transparency, it is your right as a citizen of American Samoa to know how your government is being managed.

Accountability, the consistent practice of accountability will increase our chances for success.  

Samoa News will report further next week on the 12-point “Plan of Action” Team Lolo and Lemanu presented during the Chamber forum, and on the Question & Answer session that followed.


PAGO PAGO AS — Aumua Amata this week congratulated the new officers of (TASSDC) The American Samoa Society of Washington, D.C. - President Isapela Enesi-Coggins, First Vice President Christina Maiava Schaff, Second Vice President Falaniko Vitolio; Treasurer Johnny Victor Toma; Secretary Julin Williams.

Said Amata, "I am delighted that the new slate of officers will take on the work of their predecessors with that same energy, enthusiasm and dedicated service. This organization has a colorful and interesting history. I was working for Paramount Chief A.U. Fuimaono the first elected American Samoa Delegate-at-Large to Washington when we initially came up with the idea starting a social club for American Samoa so a dozen of us got together to draw up a set of by-laws, organize and become active participants in the National Conference of State Societies established by the U.S. Congress within which all states and territories are members today. Our little group included historian Napoleone Tuiteleleapaga and his wife Thelma; Dr. Allen and Opeamailetailealiioaiga Marion K. Hetmanek, Salote Fetuao Starr, Claire Hunkin and Dr. Joseph Kennedy, Peter Lagarejos, Fred and Ipu Suiaunoa Grey, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Radewagen, Mrs. Rose Leutu McNeave and Robert and Laida Amataupuilevasegaotupu Bushnell.  There have been only two presidents: our elected founding President was Marion K. Hetmanek who was unanimously reelected several times. High Chief I'iga Apa'ula Kuresa Brown took over as President when Mrs. Hetmanek retired and she and her husband John Brown have done much for the Society over the years."

"Prior to that," Aumua continued, "American Samoans in Washington, D.C. were active in the Hawaii Territorial Society which became the Hawaii State Society with statehood in 1959.  Although dad was a Samoan not a Hawaiian, he was a founding member of the Hawaii Territorial Society.  While he worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer to Congressman Bob Bender of Ohio as well as a Georgetown law student, dad participated in his first Presidential inauguration as a kahili bearer on the Territory of Hawaii's float in the 1949 Truman inaugural parade barefoot and wearing only the traditional Hawaiian loincloth. Washington is always freezing cold in late January and that day was no different.  I heard this story many times from my parents as I was growing up in American Samoa.  He's pretty easy to spot in the Truman Library photo with his legs showing. The lucky guy was "King Kamehameha" because, in addition to his loin cloth he also wore a warm Mahi'ole feather helmet, an Ahu'ula treasured cloak of rare feathers and Lei Hulu or feather wreaths, items worn only by ancient Hawaiian kings." 

Aumua Amata concluded by offering her best personal wishes and thanks for their service to all of the members of the Society and in particular, the outgoing Officers: Pres. Iiga Apa'ula Kuresa Brown; First V-P and former AS Cherry Blossom Princess Kirsten Radewagen; Second V-P Paul Hetmanek; Secretary Makelita Brown; Treasurer Johnny Victor Toma. 


Members of the Chamber of Commerce present during the presentation of Team Lolo Lemanu held at the Naumati Conference Room at the Tradewinds Hotel on Thursday. The Business Community heard firsthand from Governor Candidate Lolo Letalu Moliga and Lt Governor Candidate Lemanu Peleti Mauga of their plans in working with the private sectors. (Courtesy Photo)


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