Chamber of Commerce Gubernatorial Forum highlights key differences in candidates
Candidates for governor and lt. governor, Faoa Aitofele Sunia & Larry Sanitoa used the opportunity to make it crystal clear that the previous administration was not the “Faoa Administration” and that Sanitoa does have bills passed in the Fono during the Chamber of Commerce forum, which was attended by all the gubernatorial teams, which include Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga & Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga, and Tuika Tuika & Salanoa Iuni Maeva Saveena.
During their closing remarks at the Chamber of Commerce forum, Faoa and Sanitoa took issue with comments by Governor Lolo during the gubernatorial forum at the college the day before, where Lolo pointed out that he and Lemanu were able to restore the trust and the credibility of the people that was lost during the Faoa Administration. Lolo also noted that Sanitoa did not have any bills that were passed while in the Legislature for eight years.
During the Chamber forum, Faoa said, “I just want to make something straight here, that the [previous] administration was Togiola’s administration. I was the lieutenant governor and Togiola was the governor. I’ll tell you that there was only one time that Faoa became the real governor is when Togiola was taken to the hospital in Hawai’i and he stayed there for a while. I ran the government all by myself and nothing was ever ran from Hawai’i.
“I did it all by myself and when he came back, I moved to the back seat and supported him from there,” Faoa said.
His running mate, Sanitoa also took the opportunity to counter what Lolo said during the ASCC forum that Sanitoa did not have any bills passed while he was in office as a representative for Tualauta.
Sanitoa, who is still one of Tualuata’s two House representatives, then named a few bills that have been signed into law including landmark bills such as the Smoke-free bill,the Plastic ban bill and the Protection of Abused Children.
He claimed that it was a personal attack by Lolo, and that they did a lot for the Tualauta District. “We are committed to actively engage to the Chamber’s long term planning for economic development and look forward to working closely and that’s very important,” he said.
LOLO & LEMANU
During his closing remarks, Lolo pointed out what they have been saying and all they have been hearing is all about the government and what the need is to improve the service to the people.
“There was never a time that we have said that this government is perfect. We admit the fact that we are facing a government that is facing some real issues in the future. All we have been saying is let’s be real with our expectations and let’s be real with what we can do. That’s what this campaign is all about and what matters is how we can take our government into the future.
“All of us here today (Thursday evening), we appeal to our constituents, and we have our records to show what we can do, both Faoa and Sanitoa have been serving the government for a long time. Faoa for ten years and Sanitoa for eight years.
“We all have been serving our community, including Lemanu and myself, and all I ask is for the constituents to look into our records and in there you will know who can best represent and take our people into the future. This campaign and election is much bigger than anyone of us,” he said.
Lolo said that all they ask for is to be given another four years so they can complete what they have been doing with the projects they have been investing in over the last four years — to make sure the people get the best service they deserve.
“We have our own shortcomings and we never said that we are the best candidates but we can say that we do much better by showing our people what we have done more than Faoa and Sanitoa or even Tuika and his partner,” Lolo pointed out.
Lemanu however said that this election is about the governor, of what “the qualifications of the governor need to be.”
Responding to Faoa’s comments, Lemanu said, “I disagree with Faoa that the failure of a governor is the failure of the lieutenant governor. They’re not running separately they’re running as a team, while the Lt governor advises, or commands the governor — that’s the power stated by law. He doesn’t do major decisions at the end of the day, but he is still part of the team.”
Lemanu concluded by saying the power of investment in which they established the Territorial Bank of American Samoa (TBAS) and the power of purchasing by the workforce is the key importance in this gathering of the Chamber.
TUIKA & SALANOA
Salanoa said their team is trying to do their best, to help the government and they will do what is right for the government.
Tuika however appealed for a chance for his team in office.
“We have a clear program, to help the government and Faoa an Lolo have already been given the chance and you have seen what has happened in the 10 years they were in office.”
Tuika also mentioned the need to bring down Federal Credit Union for the low income people and for commercial banking, he said its better to have a FDCI insured bank.
He noted that the main priority is healthcare, with education coming in second. He also stated that their team’s plan will help reduce the cost of government, and will help the economy and will make American Samoa great again, seemingly echoing the Trump slogan of “Make America Great Again”.
Tuika pleaded, “You’ve already given a chance to Lolo, and you’ve given 10 years to Faoa and so all we ask for is one chance so we can better the economy and our country.”