Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on Wednesday October 29, 2003 the House Committee on Resources held a hearing on H.R. 2010, a bill he introduced to protect the voting rights of military men and women whose home of record is American Samoa.
“Governor Togiola asked the Lieutenant Governor to testify in support of the bill and I am pleased by the outcome,” Congressman Faleomavaega. “At this time, we are in full agreement that H.R. 2010 is the right thing to do. Like 85% of those surveyed in American Samoa, we believe that our active duty service members should be afforded the same rights and privileges as every other man and woman serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Our service members and college students deserve the right to vote and we believe it is our duty to protect their rights.”
“I am also pleased that Senator Fuimaono, President of the Senate, has also agreed to support our efforts. On October 27, 2003, he sent me a letter stating his full support for HR 2010 and wishing Chairman Pombo the best of luck in moving the bill forward.”
“In a statement submitted to the Committee, Governor Togiola stated that ‘although I had previously expressed misgivings about the bill, after further review, I have come to support the measure for the following reasons: 1) The bill in its current form provides that when American Samoa devises a system for primary elections for election of our Congressman, the U.S. Congress will amend the section to restore the election of the Congressman by majority vote. 2) Currently there is no other way to maximize the participation of American Samoan residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and those attending college, as well as their families, to fully participate in the election of our Congressional Delegate.’”
“As I have said before, H.R. 2010 is a good compromise and includes the suggestions of our local leaders. H.R. 2010 provides for both plurality and majority voting. It also clearly authorizes the Fono to establish primary elections, if it so chooses,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“I am pleased that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the President of the Senate are now fully supportive of this bill. I thank them for their support and I also thank Chairman Pombo and Ranking Member Nick Rahall of the House Resources Committee for holding a hearing on this bill.”
“Finally, I want to thank our college students and our men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. We are living in difficult times and we must work together to make a difference for generations to come,” the Congressman concluded.
Photo: Congressman Faleomavaega with Chairman Richard Pombo of the House Committee on Resources, and Lieutenant Governor Aitofele Sunia of American Samoa during the Committee hearing on H.R. 2010.
Photo: Solomona Aoelua (10/29/2003)