Afoa Moega Lutu

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Afoa Moega Lutu
Born (1947-02-24) February 24, 1947 (age 70)
Leulumoega, Samoa
Alma mater Truman State University
University of Hawaii, Manoa
Valparaiso University
Political party Republican

Afoafouvale Leulumoegafou Su’esu’e Lutu (born February 24, 1947) is an American Samoan politician and lawyer.[1] Lutu has served as the former Attorney General of American Samoa in two different administrations.[2] He is the current senator from the district of Maoputasi, serving the villages of Fagatogo, Utulei and Faga'alu.[3]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Afoa Moega Lutu was born on February 24, 1947, to Rev. Su’esu’e Solofa Lutu and Vaitu'utu'u Pātu Leota Leulua'iali'i Lutu.[1] He was the fourth of twelve children in his family.[1] Lutu's parents taught at the theological school at the Ekalesia Fa'apotopotoga Kerisinao i Samoa (Congregational Christian Church in Samoa) in what was then known as Western Samoa, now the independent nation of Samoa.[1] Lutu's family moved back to American Samoa when he was less than a year old and settled in the village of Amanave, where his parents worked as Christian ministers.[1]

Lutu originally attended St. Theresa Elementary School in Leone, American Samoa. However, his parents moved again to the towns of Fagatogo and Utulei by the time he was six years old to live with extended family.[1] He was admitted to Feleti Memorial Barstow Foundation Demonstration School for first grade.[1]

He became salutatorian of his eighth grade class upon graduating from the school. Lutu next entered American Samoa High School. While in high school, his parents relocated to the village of Lauli'i, east of Pago Pago Harbor, to work as ministers in the village. He resided with his grandparents, Rev. Su’esu’e and Sola, in Utulei during the school week, and traveled to see his parents on the weekend.[1] Lutu graduated as student body president from high school in 1965.[1] Following his graduation, Lutu was one of four American Samoa students chosen for a cultural exchange program in the United States. Lutu moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa, to attend an extra year of high school as part of the cultural exchange. While in Iowa, he stayed at the home of Berkley and Elinor Bedell and their family.[1] Berkley Bedell, Iowan businessman, was later elected as a United States Congressman (1975–1987).

Lutu attended Northeast Missouri State University, now known as Truman State University, on a full American Samoa Government scholarship. Lutu met his future wife while at Northeast Missouri, Etenauga Alvina Lam Yuen. Etenauga, whose parents were Pastor Tini Inu Lam Yuen and Tululautu Fueainaula Tagaloa Lam Yuen, was also from a large American Samoan family of 10 siblings.

He transferred to University of Hawai`i at Mānoa after two years in Missouri to be closer to his parents, who were working as ministers for the Samoa congregational church in Nānākuli, Hawai'i, at the time.[1] He graduated from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in prelaw.[1] His wife, Etenauga, received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Walla Walla College, now Walla Walla University.[1] Lutu enrolled in the Valparaiso University School of Law with another American Samoa Government scholarship.[1]

Lutu and Etenauga married in Lynwood, California, in 1972.[1] The couple relocated to Valparaiso, Indiana, where Lutu completed his Juris Doctorate degree.[1] Their first child, Christinna Sola, was born in Indiana in 1973. The couple moved to Hawaii following Lutu's completion of law school.

The couple had several more children, including Alvina Lore in 1976; Faauuga Hannacho in 1977; Elinor Matuaifaleese in 1980; Kimberly Malaeimi in 1982; and Florence-Emma Le’ala in 1983.[1] They also have four sons, Justin Fouvale (1980), Joshua Simanuali’i (1984), Berkley LeAloalii (1989) and Bedell-Macready Tamaalemalo (1995).

In 1989, the Afoafouvale clans of American Samoa bestowed the title of Afoafouvale to him and was formally granted in a traditional ceremony in 1990.[1] This marked the first time anyone held the title of Afoafouvale since the mid 1970s.[1]

Career[edit]

The family returned to American Samoa in 1975 where Lutu worked as an attorney-at-law, until he retired from private practice in 2012.[1] They eventually settled in Taputimu, American Samoa.

Lutu was appointed Attorney General of American Samoa by Governor A. P. Lutali after he was elected governor in 1985. He represented American Samoa and the Lutali administration at the early South Pacific Tuna Treaty negotiations.[1] As attorney general, Lutu also successfully defended challenges to the traditional Samoan communal land system before United States federal courts and the United States Supreme Court.[1]

He next became the special legal counsel for the President of the American Samoa Senate from 1998 until 1992.[1] Lutu was elected to the American Samoa House of Representatives for Maoputasi District #7 in 1992.[1] He spent two terms, a total of four years, in the House, before leaving his seat to become legal counsel to the American Samoa House of Representatives from 1996 until 1997.[1]

Lutu next served as the head of the Legislative Reference Bureau from 1997 until 2004.[1]

In 2012, Lutu was again appointed attorney general during the Lolo Moliga administration.[4] He was the first appointed cabinet member for the new administration.

In 2013, he stepped down as attorney general to serve his district of Maoputasi #7 as senator at the request of HC Tiumalu Telesia Scanlan, representing the villages of Fagatogo, Utulei and Faga'alu.[5]

Political ambitions[edit]

In 1990 Lutu ran for the American Samoa Delegates in the United States House of Representatives, but was defeated by Eni Faleomavaega.[1]

Lutu campaigned as the running mate for Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa with Senator Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid for Governor during the 1996 and 2000 American Samoan gubernatorial elections.[2] However, Reid and Lutu lost both elections. They were defeated by former governor Tauese Sunia and then Lt. Governor Tulafono in both 1996 and 2000.[2]

In 2004 Lutu ran for Governor of American Samoa in 2004 with Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona as his running mate.[2] The two faced incumbent Governor Togiola Tulafono and Lt. Governor Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia in the 2004 general election. However, Tulafono defeated Lutu in the second round runoff election. Tulafono earned 56 percent of the vote while Lutu garnered 44 percent.[6]

In 2008 Lutu ran again for the gubernatorial seat for American Samoa with now Senator Velega Savali. They did not make the run-off election and endorsed the Togiola Tulafono/Aitofele Sunia team during the final election, which they won beating the Utu Abe Malae/Sao Nua team.

In 2012 Lutu made a final effort for the gubernatorial seat with teammate Le'i Sonny Thompson.[7] They were unable to meet the need votes for the run-off election.

2008 Gubernatorial election[edit]

Afoa Moega Lutu once again decided to challenge Gov. Togiola Tulafono for his office in the 2008 gubernatorial election.[8] Lutu's running mate for Lieutenant Governor is Velega Savali, a former American Samoan Treasurer.[8]

Lutu and Savali launched their campaign for Governor at a kick-off campaign rally at the Tradewinds Hotel on May 17, 2008.[8] Approximately 700 people attended the rally.[8] Lutu promised to run on issues such as transparency and improving the territory's public education system.[8]

The gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 2008, and Tulafono was re-elected.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "About Afoa Biography". Afoa and Velega official campaign site. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d "People Briefs". Pacific Magazine. 2004-05-01. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  3. ^ "AG Afoa will leave office". Samoa News. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  4. ^ "Afoa at AG's post for second time". Samoa News. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Am. Samoa Attorney General's Term Comes To An End - January 2, 2014". Pacific Islands Report. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  6. ^ "Togiola Reelected Governor". Pacific Magazine. 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2008-10-19. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "AFOA AND LE'I OFFICIALLY ENTER 2012 GUBERNATORIAL RACE". Samoa News. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Sagapolutele, Fili (2008-05-20). "Afoa Criticizes Government's 'Damaged Reputation'". Pacific Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 

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