Selection of senators and district governors continues peacefully
Two former senators have been selected by their respective counties to serve in the Senate when the new 35th Legislature convenes in January next year, while a current senator has been selected as the Manu’a District Governor while Western District Governor Lualemaga Faoa will continue for another term in office.
Two traditional leaders for Manu’a District #2, comprising Ofu and Olosega/ Sili confirmed to Samoa News over the weekend that former Sen. Misaalefua John Hudson was selected during a meeting of traditional leaders to be their next senator. Misaalefua’s selection was made last week.
Misaalefua, who served in the Senate a few years ago, is the current Manu’a District Governor. He will take over the Manu’a District No. 2 seat currently held by Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao.
As reported by Samoa News last week, current Sens. Galeai M. Tu’ufuli and Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua have been returned to the Senate for Manu’a District No. 1 — comprising Ta’u, Fitiuta and Faleasao.
In the second senatorial seat selection, Lualemaga told Samoa News over the weekend that traditional leaders for Leasina County convened last Friday and selected former Sen. Tuiagamoa Tagavai as their new senator.
Tuiagamoa, who is the current deputy secretary of Samoan Affairs, will fill the county seat currently held by Sen. Leatualevao Asifoa. Leasina County comprises the villages of Malaeloa-Aitulagi, Aoloau and Aasu.
Responding to Samoa News request for comments, Laolagi confirmed over the weekend that during a Manu’a District meeting last Friday, he was selected by traditional leaders as their next district governor. Laolagi said he is very humbled with the honor bestowed on him by Manu’a traditional leaders to continue to serve in the government.
Laolagi, who served for several years in the House for Manu’a District #2, is chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and frequently seeks out financial information on ASG monies issues to ensure that senators have all the information they need before the Senate makes decisions on bills. He is also the vice chair of the Senate Rules Committees, and at times has served as acting Senate President Pro Temp, when Senate President Pro Temp, Sen. Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua is off island.
During his four years in the Senate, Laolagi attended every session day (which is 90-session days a year) and every day of the five Special Session of the Fono called by the governor.
For the Western District Governor, Lualemaga confirmed to Samoa News over the weekend that he has been selected to serve another four-year term and looks forward to continuing his service to the people and government of American Samoa, especially the people of the Western District.
Lualemaga, a retired associate judge of the High Court, had served for eight years in the Senate for Leasina County a few years ago. During his tenure in the Senate, he chaired several committees including Senate Select Investigative Committee, which probed several government issues. He is currently chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa. He has held the chairman post for almost 20 years.
Samoa News reported last week that Eastern District leaders agreed to return, for another four-year term, current Eastern District Govenor Alo Dr. Paul Stevenson, who is a former senator.
Local law states that the three district governors are appointed by the Governor after he receives and considers the recommendations of the respective local district councils, as to who should be appointed for their districts. However, over the years, the governor’s official appointment is only a formality and adheres to the wishes of the districts.
However, Samoa News understands that there was at least one incident in the last 25 years in which a district selection of a district governor was not accepted by the sitting governor at the time. The district had to reconvene to make a new selection, before it was accepted by the sitting governor.