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Tim Jones gets the word out: He’s running for governor

Local businessman and now gubernatorial candidate Tim Jones chose the 4th of July to officially declare his candidacy for the top government job in the territory, as he led a caravan — which included a long line of cars and an aiga bus filled with campaign committee members and supporters — from one end of the island to the other.

On the Wednesday holiday, Jones was not only trying to get the word out that he is running for the position of Governor of American Samoa, but also to shoot a music video for the song ‘Road to Change’ (RC2) composed by local artist EKREDIBLE.

Samoa News had a chance to ride along part way through the video shoot and despite bad weather during the first part of the day, Jones still made stops in most of the coastal villages of Tutuila while standing in the back of a pick up truck.

“Today’s event was planned in order to shoot a video that highlights the villages— and the voters — of Tutuila.” Jones said. “I came up with this idea about three years ago. I wanted the local voters to take some ownership of the election process.”

“As I was growing up, I didn’t care about voting or politicians and as I got older I realized why. It was because they (politicians) seemed to be at the top of discussions between me, my friends and family, and no one ever had anything good to say about them,” explained Jones.

Jones went on to say, that as time went by, he wondered how to get people excited about politics, about voting— and how to get people to take responsibility for who we put into office. He said that  everyone kept telling him it was “about the youth”, and about that time, he had a conversation with his friend and local artist EKREDIBLE.

“I asked him (EKREDIBLE) to help me with a song naming every village from East to West, to get a message out about the democratic process in voting and why it is important, especially here in American Samoa, where I think that a lot of people are complacent about the election process. For them, the build up in the last couple of months is a celebration, but after the election, no one really cares anymore. I want to change that,” he said.

He went on to talk about how at every election, we see the same things— billboards, signs, plates of food and political promises. “Every election year we see this and after every election year, we get disappointed. Afterwards, the promises fail. I think the average citizen needs to stand up and take part in their government and I do not think that is happening here in American Samoa”.

“This video was made because people respond to music and entertainment in ways that boring political speeches cannot match. Most people like to be seen on video and if I can encourage them to come out with a roadside sign that talks about the importance of voting, at least they have taken part in the process. This video will go down in history!” he stated.

“Win or lose this election, if we can encourage a few extra people to vote and get a few extra people involved in the process, then I have done my job and I am happy,” said Jones.

In talking about his campaign, he stated that “it is a real campaign and not a gimmick” and that he is “in it to win it.”  He also stated that he does not have a running mate as yet, but “there are a few good people who have shown interest.”

“If we win, we will do a great job for American Samoa, but if we lose, I can still hold a great deal of pride that at least, instead of talking about the failure of our politicians, I stood up and tried to do something about it, and I can sleep at night over that,” he said.

There was also a $500 first place prize for the best roadside sign relating to ‘voting’ or ‘registering to vote’ on Wednesday as well. According to Jones, the winner of the best road sign will be announced in Samoa News.