CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA FROM AMERICAN SAMOA HOSPITALIZED AFTER MINOR SURGERY

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (November 28, 2000 - PIDP/CPIS)---Congressman Eni Faleomavaega is recovering at LBJ Medical Center following minor surgery last week Thursday, just 48 hours after he was re-elected to Congress in the territory’s congressional run-off election November 21.

He said, "The surgery was minor and I’m doing well."

The specific cause for his surgery and hospitalization was not announced.

However, the Congressman was released for about two hours on Friday to attend a special gathering of his campaign committee at the Rainmaker Hotel.

During the "thank-you" luncheon, Faleomavaega told the crowd that he was doing well.

The congressman was rolled into the dining room in a wheel chair with bandages on his angles. While joking with supporters, observers said he looked healthy.

Despite his condition Faleomavaega told supporters that it was a day for fun and enjoyment for the group, including dancing, "even if I have to dance from this wheelchair."

Faleomavaega said he has been criticized for not attracting more federal funding for the local government "but there are no money trees in Washington, D.C. that I can just help myself to.

"First and foremost, we should take care of our local problems before moving on to another stage," said Faleomavaega.

"I wish every person in American Samoa could come to Washington D.C. to see for themselves the reality, the situation there. If there is anything I would emphasize more than anything else - we’ve got to set up our own self-sufficiency," he told the group of supporters.

"To be able to take care of ourselves first," he continued. "Then, once we get our act together, then I can better justify myself going to Washington D.C., and saying, hey, I want $300,000 million more for American Samoa."

The length of the Congressman’s stay in the hospital depends on his recovery and when the swelling in his feet goes down. He will return to Washington D.C. as soon as he is released from the hospital.

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