Swains Island Rep. To Am. Samoa Fono Returns For 6th Term

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Incumbent to focus on economic development for Swains

By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Nov. 3, 2014) – The first results of the 2014 general election became available this past Thursday when Swains Islanders re-elected their delegate Rep. Su’a Alexander Eli Jennings for a sixth consecutive two-year term to the local House of Representatives.

Local law requires the Chief Election Officer to give notice to all adult permanent residents of Swains Island, who are U.S. citizens/ nationals, about the open meeting to elect a delegate.

This year’s open meeting — moderated by Wallace Thompson — was held at the Election Office and Su’a told Samoa News that there was only one challenger, William Pedro — his uncle.

The vote to decide the winner was made by a show of hands with 35 supporting Su’a and 15 for Pedro.

"The meeting was well attended by a lot of my constituents and the overwhelming majority of constituents re-elected me back to office," Su’a said and described the meeting as "very peaceful and very good."

"I am very humbled and honored to be re-elected to serve Swains Island and the rest of the people of American Samoa," he said in a phone interview.

He also said that one of the major issues he will continue to tackle is economic development for Swains, which provides many opportunities for future development that will not only benefit Swains but the entire territory.

Among those development options are ocean and air transportation so that residents as well as visitors can return to Swains, he said, adding that Swains could also bring closer economic ties between American Samoa and Tokelau, whose leader was in the territory yesterday, as Swains and Tokelau have close ties themselves.

Asked if he will pursue next year another measure to amend the constitution to allow the Swains delegate to vote on the House floor, Su’a said, "yes" saying he will take up this issue with the Interior Department.

"I want to see what Interior has to say—at least seek out any views and opinions of the DOI," he said and noted that the Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Satele Galu Satele Jr., as well as Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale have publicly stated in the House that they support such a change to the constitution.

"And I want to share with the DOI that there is support from our local executive branch. I still want to pursue this very important issue," Su’a said.

Under local law, the Swains Island delegate can sit and vote in committee, but cannot vote on the floor — a similar situation to that of American Samoa’s Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House rejected a measure sponsored by Su’a to give full voting rights to the Swains representative on the House floor in second reading last month.

In addition to Su’a, the other two returning House incumbents are Reps. Vailoata Eteuati Amituana’i and Vaetasi Tuumolimoli S. Moliga — both incumbents running unopposed in their respective districts for the Nov. 4th election.

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