Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he was able to spend Palm Sunday with the students and teachers from American Samoa who are in the Washington, DC to participate in the annual Close Up program.
Founded in 1970, the Close Up Foundation provides students from all over the country with the opportunity to learn how the federal government operates and encourages their involvement in the political process. By participating, they become more aware of the current issues that affect them.
“I was very pleased the Close Up Foundation accepted my request and provided for the students and teachers so they could worship with us at our Samoan community church in Ft. Myer,” Faleomavaega said. “During the service, the Close Up group sang two of our traditional hymns, Lo ta Nu’u and Ua So’ona Olioli Nei.”
The Samoan Congregation hosted a reception following the service where the group was able to meet and mingle with church members.
“I am grateful to Pastor Sui Meki To’alepai and members of our Samoan Congregation at Fort Myer-Washington, DC for their kind hospitality during Sunday’s service and luncheon. It is always a special treat to our people when they come to our nation’s capital and learn that there is a Samoan church in the area where they can worship in our native tongue on a Sunday. And, our Samoan Congregation at Fort Myer has always been there to provide that special place, like a home away from home, for our Samoan people.”
Following the reception, the group proceeded to Capitol Hill where they rejoined the Congressman for a discussion session in the hearing room of the House Committee on Natural Resources, a visit in the Congressman’s office, and finally a guided tour of the Capitol building given by the Congressman that included the House of Representatives’ chamber, the National Statuary Hall, and the Capitol rotunda.
“Each year, I take our Close Up students and teachers to the Natural Resources Committee, in which I am a member. This Committee has jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to the insular areas including American Samoa and the other U.S. territories.”
“I also take them to the House of Representatives chamber where they can see first hand where legislative matters are debated and voted. While sitting in the same seats that Members of Congress sit, we discuss a number of major issues concerning our government and people in American Samoa. We harmonized Lota Nu’u in the House chamber before continuing our tour of the Capitol where we visited the rotunda and the National Statuary hall.”
“I am pleased to have been joined by Miss Dora Ah-Sue and Mr. Malu Sagiao who was visiting from Hawai’i. Dora who is a former teacher at Samoana High School was part of the Close-Up group of 2006. She is currently interning at the Office of Senator Daniel K. Inouye. Malu is a Special Agent of the United States Air Force who works in the Office of Special Investigations at Hickam Air Force Base.”
“I always make a special effort each year to be available in Washington, DC to greet and spend time with our Close Up students and teachers. I am hopeful that the students now have a broader understanding of how Congress and the rest of the federal government operate,” Faleomavaega concluded.