A. U. Fuimaono

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A.U. Fuimaono
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from American Samoa's At-large district
In office
1970–1974
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by A. P. Lutali
Personal details
Born January 24, 1924
Faga'alu, American Samoa
Died September 9, 2008
Faga'alu, American Samoa
Spouse(s) Felefele Fuimaono
Residence Futiga, American Samoa
Occupation Senator, District Governor
Religion Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa

A.U. Fuimaono (January 24, 1924 – September 9, 2008) was an American Samoan politician and Paramount Chief who served as American Samoa's first Delegate-at-Large to the United States House of Representatives from 1970 until 1974.[1][2] Fuimaono also served as the Governor of Western District, American Samoa on the island of Tutuila from his appointment in 1993 until his death in 2008.[1][3]

Early life[edit]

A.U. Fuimaono was educated at the Marist Brothers Catholic School, Poyer School and Samoana High School.[3] Fuimaono went on to obtain his teaching certification from Feleti Memorial Teachers Training School.[3]

Fuimaono enlisted and served in the United States Navy for four years.[3]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Fuimaono was a full Samoan chief.[3] Fuimaono helped to establish the first Political Status Commission, which was held in 1969.[3]

Delegate to the United States House of Representatives[edit]

Fuimaono arrived in Washington, D.C. in 1970 as American Samoa’s first Delegate to the United States House of Representatives.[1][2]

While serving in the House, Fuimaono hired a young Eni Faleomavaega as an administrative assistant.[1] The position was Faleomavaega's first job after graduating from law school.[1] Faleomavaega, who is currently serving as the incumbent Delegate for American Samoa, later spoke of Fuimaono's influence on his career saying, "In fact, he was the first person who exposed me to Washington D.C. I would not be here as American Samoa’s congressional representative if it had not been for Fuimaono, who served as our first elected representative to Washington."[1]

American Samoan government[edit]

Fuimaono left Washington D.C. in 1974 and returned to American Samoa. He was elected to the American Samoa Senate from 1975 until 1978 in the 14th and 15th American Samoan Legislatures.[1][4] During this tenure, Fuimaono also served as President of the Senate for 18 months.[1]

Fuimaono left the Senate in 1978 to take a Cabinet position.[1] He returned to the Senate following the end of his Cabinet position. He served again in the Senate from 1985 until 1992 during the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd American Samoan Legislatures.[1][4] Ultimately, Fuimaono served in all three branches of the American Samoan government, including as a legal advisor on Samoan matters within the territorial Judiciary.[3]

Governor of Western District[edit]

Fuimaono was appointed governor of Western District, American Samoa[3] in 1993.[1] He served as Governor until his death in 2008.[1] Fuimaono was unable to attend many public events in 2008 due to failing health.[1]

Other roles[edit]

Fuimaono also sat on the board of directors for a number of American Samoan committees and organizations throughout his career. He served as Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa.[3] He also worked as chairman of the American Samoa Red Cross, Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Samoa's Aloha Council and Chairman of Future Farmers of Samoa.[1]

At one point, Fuimaono joined StarKist Tuna as the company's Director of Government and Industrial Relations in the private sector.[3] StarKist Tuna has a large cannery and processing facilities in American Samoa.

Honors[edit]

Fuimaono was awarded the Governor's Humanitarian Award in 2000.[4] The award, which is sponsored by the Amerika Samoa Humanities Council was established in 1996 by former Governor A.P. Lutali.[4] Fuimaono was given the honor for his role as a church, governmental and traditional Samoan leader.[4]

Death[edit]

A.U. Fuimaono died around 9 P.M. on September 9, 2008, at LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Faga'alu, American Samoa, at the age of 85.[1] Fuimaono was survived by his children, including daughters, Lentoy, Renita, Agalei, Agalofa, son, Raul Fuimaono and grandchildren.[1] His wife died in December 2000.[1]

The American Samoa Senate observed a moment of silence in Fuimaono's honor during its session on September 10, 2008.[2] Governor Togiola Tulafono ordered all American flags lowered to half-staff.[3]

Tributes poured in from across American Samoa. American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono said that American Samoa had lost a great leader, "We will forever be grateful to his leadership, dedication and contribution. He will be greatly missed."[1] Representative Eni Faleomavaega said that Fuimaono "was like a father to me."[1]

Fuimaono's daughter, Lentoy Matagi, told Pacific Magazine that, "My father instilled in all of his children many values, including church, education, and Samoan culture, and we cherish all of those important values everyday of our lives."[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Sagapolutele, Fili (2008-09-13). "American Samoa's First Delegate To U.S. Congress Has Died". Pacific Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "American Samoa’s first delegate to Washington passes away". Radio New Zealand International. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Governor Togiola honors Paramount Chief A.U. Fuimaono". Office of Governor Togiola Tulafono press release. 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Sagapolutele, Fili (2008-09-11). "Gov A. U. Fuimaono passes away at age 85". Samoa News. Retrieved 2008-09-25. [dead link]

External links[edit]