Governor of American Samoa
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Governor of American Samoa
Governor of American Samoa
Seal of American Samoa.svg
Incumbent
Lemanu Peleti Mauga

since January 3, 2021
ResidenceGovernment House, Pago Pago
AppointerGeneral election
Term length4 years single term,
eligible for second.
PrecursorMalietoa
FormationFebruary 17, 1900
First holderBenjamin Franklin Tilley
as Commandant
WebsiteOffice of the Governor
Seal of American Samoa.svg

politics and government of
American Samoa

This is a list of governors, etc. of the part of the Samoan Islands (now comprising American Samoa) under United States administration since 1900.

From 1900 to 1978 governors were appointed by the Federal government of the United States. Since that time they have been elected for 4-year terms by the people of American Samoa.

History

When the Department of the Interior sent four governors in a three year period, local Samoans began advocating for choosing their own governors. In the late 1940s, a Navy Governor, as well as an Interior Governor, had expressed their beliefs that High Orator Chief Tuiasosopo would be a suitable governor. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Peter Tali Coleman as Governor of American Samoa, the first person of Samoan descent to occupy that role. Coleman, a member of the Republican Party, was a U.S. Army officer with a law degree from Georgetown University. After his presidential appointment, local residents became increasingly aware that Samoans can do the job just as good as the federal government, which until now had appointed governors to the islands. Soon local lawmakers such as Governor Owen Aspinall and H. Rex Lee favored the idea of locals being elected governors. On the other side was Governor John Morse Haydon, who openly opposed the idea. An administrative judge criticized Haydon and following a Pago Pago hearing, the Department of the Interior began distancing itself from Haydon and soon replaced him with a new governor. The concept of an elected governor was proposed with Senate Bill 20 and a Gubernatorial Commission was created in order to consider ways to implement the concept of electing governors.[1]

In a 1977 article from the New York Times, it describes how opposition to an appointed Governor began with the appointment of Earl B. Ruth. Within eighteen months, the congressman from North Carolina had removed several Samoans in administrative posts, who had been appointed by former Republican Governor John Morse Haydon. Governor Ruth was soon recalled to Washington, DC and was later quoted for having called Samoans "lazy, thieving liars." After having turned down the proposal to elect their own Governor in three plebiscites, American Samoans in a 1976 referendum overwhelmingly approved the measure in which allowed them to elect that official. The first popularly elected Governor was Republican Peter Tali Coleman that same year.[2]

Republican Te'o J. Fuavai was one of the earliest proponents of the movement to elect Governors in American Samoa, as opposed to Governors being appointed by the federal government. Fuavai sponsored a resolution that proposed the Department of the Interior to permit elections.[3]

Appointed governors (1900-1978)

Naval administrators (1900-1951)

Term Portrait Incumbent Notes
February 17, 1900 - November 27, 1901 BenjaminFranklinTilley.jpg Benjamin Franklin Tilley, Commandant April 17, 1900: Treaty of Cession of Tutuila
November 27, 1901 - December 16, 1902 Uriel Sebree.jpg Uriel Sebree, Commandant
December 16, 1902 - May 5, 1903 Henry Minett 1877.jpg Henry Minett, acting Commandant
May 5, 1903 - January 30, 1905 Seal of American Samoa.svg Edmund Beardsley Underwood, Commandant/Governor July 16, 1904: Treaty of Cession of Manu'a
January 30, 1905 - May 21, 1908 Charles Brainard Taylor Moore.png Charles Brainard Taylor Moore, Governor
May 21, 1908 - November 10, 1910 Seal of American Samoa.svg John Frederick Parker, Governor
November 10, 1910 - March 14, 1913 William Michael Crose.jpg William Michael Crose, Governor July 17, 1911: U.S. Naval Station Tutuila renamed American Samoa
March 14 - July 14, 1913 Seal of American Samoa.svg Nathan Post, acting Governor First term
July 14, 1913 - October 2, 1914 Seal of American Samoa.svg Clark Daniel Stearns, Governor
October 2, 1914 - December 6, 1914 Seal of American Samoa.svg Nathan Post, acting Governor Second term
December 6, 1914 - March 1, 1915 Seal of American Samoa.svg Charles Armijo Woodruff, acting Governor
March 1, 1915 - June 10, 1919 John Martin Poyer.jpg John Martin Poyer, Governor
June 10, 1919 - November 3, 1920 Warren J. Terhune (US Navy officer).png Warren Terhune, Governor Committed suicide
November 11, 1920 - March 1, 1922 Seal of American Samoa.svg Waldo A. Evans, Governor
March 1, 1922 - September 4, 1923 EdwinTaylorPollock.jpg Edwin Taylor Pollock, Governor
September 4, 1923 - March 17, 1925 Seal of American Samoa.svg Edward Stanley Kellogg, Governor
March 17, 1925 - September 9, 1927 Seal of American Samoa.svg Henry Francis Bryan, Governor
September 9, 1927 - August 2, 1929 Seal of American Samoa.svg Stephen Victor Graham, Governor February 20, 1929: U.S. Congress recognized the cession of Tutuila and Manu'a by their chiefs, with retrospective to 16 July 1904.
August 2, 1929 - March 24, 1931 Gatewood Sanders Lincoln.PNG Gatewood Lincoln, Governor First term
March 24 - April 22, 1931 James S. Spore.jpg James Sutherland Spore, acting Governor
April 22 - July 17, 1931 Arthur Tenney Emerson.png Arthur Emerson, acting Governor
July 17, 1931 - May 12, 1932 Gatewood Sanders Lincoln.PNG Gatewood Lincoln, Governor Second term
May 12, 1932 - April 10, 1934 George Landenberger 1932.jpg George Landenberger, Governor
April 10-17, 1934 Seal of American Samoa.svg Thomas C. Latimore, acting Governor
April 17, 1934 - January 15, 1936 Seal of American Samoa.svg Otto Dowling, Governor
January 15-20, 1936 Seal of American Samoa.svg Thomas Benjamin Fitzpatrick, acting Governor
January 20, 1936 - June 3, 1938 MacGillivray Milne head.jpg MacGillivray Milne, Governor
June 26, 1938 - July 30, 1940 Edward W. Hanson.jpg Edward Hanson, Governor
July 30 - August 8, 1940 Jesse Wallace.jpg Jesse Wallace, acting Governor
August 8, 1940 - June 5, 1942 Seal of American Samoa.svg Laurence Wild, Governor Henry Louis Larsen served as Military Governor from January 17 to April 25, 1942
June 5, 1942 - February 8, 1944 Seal of American Samoa.svg John Gould Moyer, Governor
February 8, 1944 - January 27, 1945 Seal of American Samoa.svg Allen Hobbs, Governor
January 27 - September 3, 1945 Captain Ralph Waldo Hungerford.jpg Ralph Hungerford, Governor
September 3-10, 1945 Seal of American Samoa.svg Samuel Canan, acting Governor
September 10, 1945 - April 22, 1947 Harold Houser grave.jpg Harold Houser, Governor
April 22, 1947 - June 15, 1949 Vernon Huber.jpg Vernon Huber, Governor
July 7, 1949 - February 23, 1951 Thomas Darden.jpg Thomas Darden, Governor

Civilian governors (1951-1978)

Governor Took office Left office Party
Phelps Phelps.jpg   Phelps Phelps
(1897-1981)
February 23, 1951 June 20, 1952 Republican
John Elliott.jpg   John C. Elliott
(1919-2001)
July 16, 1952 November 23, 1952 Democratic
No image.png   James Arthur Ewing
(born 1916)
November 28, 1952 March 4, 1953 Democratic
Lawrence M. Judd (PP-74-3-007).jpg   Lawrence M. Judd
(1887-1968)
March 4, 1953 August 5, 1953 Republican
Richard Barrett Lowe.jpg   Richard Barrett Lowe
(1902-1972)
August 5, 1953 October 15, 1956 Republican
Peter Tali Coleman.jpg   Peter Tali Coleman
(1919-1997)
October 13, 1956 May 24, 1961 Republican
Hyrum Rex Lee.jpg   H. Rex Lee
(1910-2001)
May 24, 1961 July 31, 1967 Democratic
Owen Aspinall.jpg   Owen Aspinall
(1927-1997)
August 1, 1967 July 31, 1969 Democratic
No image.png   John Morse Haydon
(1920-1991)
August 1, 1969 October 14, 1974 Republican
No image.png   Frank Mockler
(1909-1993)
(acting)
October 14, 1974 February 6, 1975 Republican
Earl B. Ruth.jpg   Earl B. Ruth
(1916-1989)
February 6, 1975 September 30, 1976 Republican
No image.png   Frank Barnett
(1933-2016)
October 1, 1976 May 27, 1977 Republican
Hyrum Rex Lee.jpg   H. Rex Lee
(1910-2001)
May 28, 1977 January 3, 1978 Democratic

Elected governors (1978-present)

Governor Took office Left office Party Elected Lieutenant Governor
51 Peter Tali Coleman.jpg Peter Tali Coleman
(1919-1997)
January 3, 1978
-
January 3, 1985
Republican 1977
1980
Tufele Liamatua
52 AP Lutali.jpg   A. P. Lutali
(1919-2002)
January 3, 1985
-
January 2, 1989
Democratic 1984 Eni Faleomavaega
53 Peter Tali Coleman.jpg Peter Tali Coleman
(1919-1997)
January 2, 1989
-
January 3, 1993
Republican 1988 Galea'i Peni Poumele
  Gaioi Tufele Galeai
54 AP Lutali.jpg A. P. Lutali
(1919-2002)
January 3, 1993
-
January 3, 1997
Democratic 1992 Tauese Sunia
55 GovSunia.jpg Tauese Sunia
(1941-2003)
January 3, 1997
-
March 26, 2003
Democratic 1996
2000
Togiola Tulafono
- Togiola Tulafono.jpg Togiola Tulafono
(born 1947)
March 26, 2003
-
April 7, 2003
Democratic 2004
2008
Vacant
56 April 7, 2003
-
January 3, 2013
  Faoa Aitofele Sunia
57 Lolo Moliga by James Kneubuhl.jpg Lolo Matalasi Moliga
(born 1947)
January 3, 2013
-
January 3, 2021
Independent 2012
2016
Lemanu Peleti Mauga
Democratic
58 Lemanu Peleti Mauga (cropped).png   Lemanu Peleti Mauga
(born 1949/1950)
January 3, 2021
-
Incumbent
Democratic 2020 Eleasalo Ale

Succession

Living former governors

There are two living former governor of American Samoa. The most recent governor to die was Frank Barnett (served 1976-1977), on July 15, 2016.[4] The most recently serving governor to die was Tauese Sunia (served 1997-2003), who died in office on March 26, 2003.

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Togiola Tulafono 2003-2013 (1947-02-28) February 28, 1947 (age 73)
Lolo Matalasi Moliga 2013-2021 (1947-08-12) August 12, 1947 (age 73)

Latest election

American Samoa gubernatorial general election préliminary results, 2020[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Lemanu Peleti Mauga
Eleasalo Ale
7,154 60.3%
Nonpartisan Gaoteote Palaie Tofau
Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet
2,594 21.9%
Nonpartisan Iʻaulualo Faʻafetai Talia
Tapaʻau Dr. Dan Mageo Aga
1,461 12.3%
Nonpartisan Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga T. Nua
Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr.
652 5.5%
Total votes 11,861 100.00

References

  1. ^ Sunia, Fof? I. F. (1998). The Story of the Legislature of American Samoa: In Commemoration of the Golden Jubilee 1948-1998. Pago Pago, AS: Legislature of American Samoa. Pages 236-237. ISBN 9789829008015.
  2. ^ "GOVERNOR IS ELECTED IN AMERICAN SAMOA: Peter Coleman Is the First to Be Picked by Ballot - Leaders Were Named By U.S. for 77 Years." New York Times (Nov. 24, 1977). Page 38.
  3. ^ Sunia, Fof? I. F. (1998). The Story of the Legislature of American Samoa: In Commemoration of the Golden Jubilee 1948-1998. Pago Pago, AS: Legislature of American Samoa. Page 271. ISBN 9789829008015.
  4. ^ "Frank Barnett, former governor of American Samoa, dies". www.knoxnews.com. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Unofficial results have Lemanu & Talauega winning 60+% of vote". Samoa News. November 4, 2020.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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