25 Apr 2007

American Samoan congressman says he has backing to have questions included in poll

5:01 pm on 25 April 2007

The American Samoan member of the US Congress Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says many locals have voiced support for his bill asking the Secretary of the Interior to include three crucial questions in next year's elections.

The bill, which asks voters to answer questions on the election of senators, U.S. citizenship and establishing a federal district court in the territory, is currently before a committee.

He says the questions are an ongoing topic of debate among many American Samoans, particularly the issue of U.S. citizenship.

"I have calls from all over the country. Samoans who were born in American Samoa have been complaining to me about how come we are second class citizens? and I told them because you are second class citizens, you're not US citizens. We have about 130 thousand Samoans living throughout the United States, and that's an issue I think would be well if people made a final decision on."

He says his motivation is to gauge the will of the people.

Many of the territory's senators are opposed to the bill.