Long time American Samoa congressman unseated
The unseating of American Samoa congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is being put down to his detriorating health and a strong campaign by one of his opponents.
The unseating of long-time American Samoan congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is being put down to his deteriorating health and a strong campaign by one of his opponents.
Unofficial results in yesterday's voting gave Aumua Amata 42 percent of the vote compared to Faleomavaega's 31 percent.
He was first elected to the US Congress in 1987 and was seeking his 14th consecutive two-year term
Our correspondent in Pago Pago Monica Miller says the likely victor, Aumua Amata, has been trying for the seat for 20 years.
MONICA MILLER: We had expected that Faleomavaega would still make a good showing but because of his health, I think a lot of his supporters that we've talked to said that when they first saw him, when he arrived in the territory about a week ago, that's when it really struck them that he should be taking care of his health and that they had questions about whether he would be effective in representing them for another term. And at the same time Aumua Amata really ran a good campaign and the votes show that people thought that is was time for a change.
SALLY ROUND: She's been trying to get into Congress since the mid-90s hasn't she.
MM: That's right, more than 20 years and you know she has politics in her blood, she's well connected with the Republican Party who have also taken over the Senate having controlled the House for the last four years. But certainly Aumua Amata is no stranger to Washington, she has been serving on several advisory commissions relating to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Definitely she has the contacts that would carry very well for American Samoa in Washington DC.
SR: Now the electorate was also voting on whether to give the Legislature power to override the governor's veto of legislation.
MM: Yes and the voters overwhelmingly turned down the referendum. The referendum would have given the Fono power to override any veto by the governor of bills that the Fono approved. Only 2,670 people supported the referendum, while 6,620 voted no so that was an overwhelming rejection of the referendum. Even though the government had really pushed for a public awareness campaign that primarily promoted support for the referendum.
SR: So was that a surprise?
MM: We certainly in the media felt that just having talked to people that it wasn't going to be approved and this has been the case for the last three times that this same referendum went to the voters.
SR: And just finally, were there any surprises among those who lost their seats in the local house of representatives?
MM: Yes one of the major upsets was one of the very outspoken representatives, a young lawmaker Taotasi Archie Soliai who's always in there questioning government spending, questioning policies and he lost his seat in the Ituau election. Now another senior member of the House, vice speaker I'aulualo Talia Faafetai he also lost his seat and now we have five new members for the House of Representatives and 16 of the incumbents are being returned.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: