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The Legislature of American Samoa or Fono is the territorial legislature of American Samoa. Like most state and territorial legislatures of the United States, it is a bicameral legislature with a House of Representatives and a Senate. The legislature is located in Fagatogo along Pago Pago harbor.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Samoa. Its location is centered on 14.2710° S, 170.1322° W. It is east of the International Date Line, while independent Samoa is west of the Line.
A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
It is the only legislature on the state or territorial level in the United States that is both bicameral and nonpartisan. The Nebraska Legislature is similarly nonpartisan yet is a unicameral body.
The Nebraska Legislature is the supreme legislative body of the state of Nebraska. Its members are called "senators." The legislature is officially unicameral and nonpartisan, making Nebraska unique among U.S. states; no other state has either a unicameral or a nonpartisan legislative body. With 49 members, it is also the smallest legislature of any U.S. state.
The lower House of Representatives has 21 members, elected for a two-year term. It comprises 20 single-seat constituencies and one constituency decided upon by a public meeting on Swains Island. The Senate has 18 members, elected for a four-year term by and from the chiefs of the islands.
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.
The American Samoa House of Representatives is the lower house of the American Samoa Fono. The House consists of 21 representatives serving two-year terms, with 20 popularly elected members, and one representative elected by a public meeting on Swains Island.
Swains Island is an atoll in the Tokelau chain. The island is subject to an ongoing territorial dispute between Tokelau and the United States of America, which administers it as part of American Samoa. Owned by the Jennings family and used as a copra plantation, Swains Island has a population of 17 Tokelauans, who harvest the island's coconuts. The land area is 1.5 square kilometres (0.58 sq mi).
Following the U.S. gaining sovereignty of the islands, Governor B. F. Tilley functioned as American Samoa’s sole lawmaker. The territory first controlled by Tilley’s one-man legislature as the U.S. government had no experience in governing territorial governments. Commander Tilley issued regulation no. 5 on May 1, 1900, which was called “A Declaration Concerning the Form of Government for the United States Naval Station, Tutuila.” This law declared that American laws were in force in islands.
During Governor Vernon Huber's term in office, which lasted from 1947 until 1949, American Samoans moved towards greater self-government. Under Huber's encouragement, the legislature of the territory, known as the American Samoa Fono, convened for the first time.
Vernon Huber was a United States Navy Rear admiral, and the 36th Governor of American Samoa from April 22, 1947 to June 15, 1949. He was born in Philadelphia, Illinois, and was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from that state. He served as the first commanding officer of the destroyer USS Livermore upon its launch in 1940. After his appointment, he advocated the diversification of the American Samoan economy. He also helped to increase the level American Samoan self-government, and was the first governor to serve alongside a Samoan legislature, the American Samoa Fono.
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.
The American Samoa Fono is housed at the Maota Fono complex, a bee-hive shaped building based on the traditional Samoan fale. It is based on the same traditional building designs as the Fono in Samoa. A two-story main wing (housing the Legislature's and Governor's offices) is flanked by two single-story wings housing the chambers from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Samoans or Samoan people are the indigenous Polynesian people of the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in Polynesia, who speak the Samoan language. The group's home islands are politically and geographically divided between the Independent State of Samoa and American Samoa, an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. Though divided by government, the culture and language remain the same.
A beach fale is a simple thatched hut in Samoa. Beach fales are also common in other parts of Polynesia. They have become popular in tourism as a low budget accommodation situated by the coast, built with a few posts, no walls and a thatched roof with a round or oval shape.
This Fono building is the second to be located in Fagotogo and opened in 1973. The first Fono was housed in the former home at the United States Navy Tutuila Station barracks. It was destroyed by a fire in 1970.The former Fono site is home to the ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank's Head Office.
Politics of American Samoa takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic dependency, whereby the Governor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. Its constitution was ratified 1966 and came into effect 1967. Executive power is discharged by the governor and the lieutenant governor. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the legislature. The party system is a based on the United States party system. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Fofó Iosefa Fiti Sunia was the first non-voting Delegate from American Samoa to the United States House of Representatives. He was born in Fagasā, Pago Pago, and attended the University of Hawaii.
The flag of American Samoa is a flag consisting of a red-edged white triangle pointing towards the hoist charged with a bald eagle clutching a war club and fly-whisk, with dark blue upper and lower triangles. Adopted in April 1960 to replace the "Stars and Stripes" as the official flag of the territory, it has been the flag of the Territory of American Samoa since that year. The colors used epitomize the traditional colors of the United States and Samoa.
Peter Tali Coleman was the first person of Samoan descent to be appointed Governor of American Samoa, and later became the territory's first popularly elected Governor. A member of the Republican Party, he is the only U.S. governor whose service spanned five decades and one of the longest-serving governors of any jurisdiction in American history. In 1955, Coleman became the first of Samoan ancestry to serve as Attorney General of American Samoa.
The American Samoa Senate is the upper house of the American Samoa Fono. The Senate, like the lower House of Representatives, is a nonpartisan body. It is composed of 18 senators, serving a four-year term.
Fagatogo is the Downtown area of Pago Pago, the territorial capital of American Samoa. It is the government, commercial, financial, and shipping center of Tutuila Island. It is also the administrative capital of American Samoa. Fagatogo is the location of the American Samoa Fono (legislature), and is listed in the Constitution of American Samoa as the territory's official seat of government. Its population is 3,000.
Utulei is a village in Maoputasi County in the Eastern District of Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa. Utulei is the legislative capital of American Samoa, and is located east of Pago Pago. It is home to most hotels and most historic buildings in Pago Pago. The Executive Office Building is located here, just next to Feleti Barstow Library and paved roads that wind up to the former cablecar terminal on Solo Hill. Lee Auditorium, which was built in 1962, is also located in Utulei. American Samoa's television studios, known as Michael J. Kirwan Educational Television Center, and the Rainmaker Hotel, are also found in Utulei. Utulei Terminal offers views of Rainmaker Mountain.
The Eastern District is one of the primary districts of American Samoa. It consists of the eastern portion of Tutuila, American Samoa's largest island, plus the island of Aunu'u. The district has a land area of 67.027 km2 and a 2000 census population of 23,441. It contains 34 villages plus a portion of Nu'uuli village. Among these are Pago Pago, Fagatogo, and Utulei.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to American Samoa:
United States Naval Station Tutuila was a naval station in Pago Pago Harbor on the island of Tutuila, part of American Samoa, built in 1899 and in operation until 1951. During the United States Navy rule of American Samoa, from 1900 to 1951, it was customary for the commandant of the station to also serve as Military Governor of the territory. Benjamin Franklin Tilley was the first commandant and the first officer responsible for the naval station's construction.
The government of American Samoa is defined under the Constitution of American Samoa.
Anua is a village on Tutuila Island, American Samoa. It is located close to the capital Pago Pago, on the coast of Pago Pago Harbor. The term Pago Pago is often used for several settlements on Pago Pago Bay, including Anua, Lepua, Utulei, and others.
Galea'i Peni Poumele was a Republican American Samoan politician and traditional leader. Poumele served as the third elected Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa from 1989 to 1992.
The Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium, also called Fale Laumei in Samoan, is the largest indoor meeting space in the United States territory of American Samoa. It is located in the village of Utulei, surrounded by other government buildings. The main body of the building is a roughly ovoid structure, with a curved roof that is reminiscent of the thatch roofs of traditional Samoan structures. The auditorium was built in 1962 under orders from Governor Hyrum Rex Lee as part of a major initiative to modernize the territory's infrastructure and facilities. It was built by a construction squadron of the United States Navy, and was completed in time for the 1962 South Pacific Conference. It was later named in honor of Lee, who was the territory's longest-serving governor, and oversaw much of its modernization.
Savali Talavou Ale is an American Samoan politician. He has served as the Speaker of the American Samoa House of Representatives since 2007. Ale, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1981, is also the longest serving current member of the American Samoa House of Representatives, as of 2015.
Ma'upūtasi County is located in the Eastern District of Tutuila Island in American Samoa. Maoputasi County comprises the capital of Pago Pago and its harbor, as well as surrounding villages. It was home to 11,695 residents as of 2000. Maoputasi County is 6.69 sq. mi. The county has a 7.42-mile shoreline.
Aumoeualogo Te’o J. Fuavai was a former American Samoa politician who represented the Republican Party of American Samoa and served as a member of the American Samoa House of Representatives, as a territorial Senator, and Speaker of the House of Representatives. He has also been the Commissioner of Public Safety, Director of Public Works, President of the American Samoa Rugby Union (1976-2019), Chairman of the Catholic Diocesan Council, and Chairman of the Republican Party of American Sāmoa.