8 Nov 2018

American Samoa re-elects Republican congresswoman

9:48 am on 8 November 2018

American Samoa's congresswoman Aumua Amata has been re-elected by a landslide majority, winning 83 percent of the vote.

This will be the Republican's third term as a non voting delegate to the US House of Representatives.

Incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is seeking a second term.

Incumbent Congresswoman Aumua Amata is seeking a second term. Photo: Supplied/United States Congress

Aumua said with congress swinging to the Democrats she was hoping for better cooperation between the two parties in Washington.

"There are going to be some changes in the nation's capital, there's going to be some new faces and people that I look forward to meeting," Aumua said.

"But the thing is that we want to have a very peaceful working relationship... pretty much the way we are here in American Samoa with the sense of unity."

Andra Samoa.

Andra Samoa. Photo: SPC

In the election for American Samoa's House of Representatives or Fono, 13 members were re-elected while eight new representatives will be installed.

Of the 55 candidates who ran for election yesterday, only seven were women.

The only female candidate to win a race was Andra Samoa from Fofo district.

House members Vui Florence Saulo and Fialupe Fiaui Lutu were defeated.

Ms Samoa, a former Executive Director of the American Samoa Power Authority, had run twice before.

"I feel so proud of my village to recognize that it is time for change, enabling a woman to be a voice, to represent its needs in the legislative branch so there is a connection between legislation and village interest," she said.

Voters in American Samoa also cast ballots in a referendum yesterday.

They again rejected a veto over-ride proposal, which sought to amend the local constitution by giving the legislature the authority to override the governor's veto instead of the US Secretary of Interior as it stands now.

Of the 8562 ballots counted, 2605 supported changing the veto override, while 5957 rejected it.

If voters had passed the referendum, which was initiated by the Fono through an approved Senate Joint Resolution, the issue would have then been taken to the US Congress, which has the final say on changes to the local constitution.

The last veto override referendum was in the 2014 general election, resulting in an overwhelming defeat.

The first time a veto override referendum was rejected was in 2008 but only by a narrow margin of 22 votes.

Government leaders at the time believed it was defeated due to the lack of public awareness and understanding of the issue.

This year, the Office of Political Status, Constitution and Federal Relations, working with the Secretary of Samoan Affairs, conducted outreach programs at all levels of the community explaining the current process as well as what the referendum was all about.