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List of governors 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 1977 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.

HistoryEdit

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 T. 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 M. 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 M. 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 1977 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]

Commandant governors (1900–1905)Edit

Term Image Incumbent Notes
17 February 1900 — 27 November 1901   Benjamin Franklin Tilley, Commandant 17 April 1900: Treaty of Cession of Tutuila
27 November 1901 — 16 December 1902   Uriel Sebree, Commandant
16 December 1902 — 5 May 1903   Henry Minett, acting Commandant
5 May 1903 — 30 January 1905   Edmund Beardsley Underwood, Commandant/Governor 16 July 1904: Treaty of Cession of Manu'a

Naval governors (1905–1951)Edit

Term Image Incumbent Notes
30 January 1905 — 21 May 1908   Charles Brainard Taylor Moore, Governor
21 May 1908 — 10 November 1910   John Frederick Parker, Governor
10 November 1910 — 14 March 1913   William Michael Crose, Governor 17 July 1911: U.S. Naval Station Tutuila renamed American Samoa
14 March 1913 — 14 July 1913   Nathan Woodworth Post, acting Governor 1st Term
14 July 1913 — 2 October 1914   Clark Daniel Stearns, Governor
2 October 1914 — 6 December 1914   Nathan Woodworth Post, acting Governor 2nd Term
6 December 1914 — 1 March 1915   Charles Armijo Woodruff, acting Governor
1 March 1915 — 10 June 1919   John Martin Poyer, Governor
10 June 1919 — 3 November 1920   Warren Jay Terhune, Governor
11 November 1920 — 1 March 1922   Waldo A. Evans, Governor
1 March 1922 — 4 September 1923   Edwin Taylor Pollock, Governor
4 September 1923 — 17 March 1925   Edward Stanley Kellogg, Governor
17 March 1925 — 9 September 1927   Henry Francis Bryan, Governor
9 September 1927 — 2 August 1929   Stephen Victor Graham, Governor 20 February 1929: U.S. Congress recognition of the cession of Tutuila and Manu'a by their chiefs, with retrospective to 16 July 1904
2 August 1929 — 24 March 1931   Gatewood Sanders Lincoln, Governor 1st Term
24 March 1931 — 22 April 1931   James Sutherland Spore, acting Governor
22 April 1931 — 17 July 1931   Arthur Tenney Emerson, acting Governor
17 July 1931 — 12 May 1932   Gatewood Sanders Lincoln, Governor 2nd Term
12 May 1932 — 10 April 1934   George Bertram Landenberger, Governor
10 April 1934 — 17 April 1934   Thomas C. Latimore, acting Governor
17 April 1934 — 15 January 1936   Otto Carl Dowling, Governor
15 January 1936 — 20 January 1936   Thomas Benjamin Fitzpatrick, acting Governor
20 January 1936 — 3 June 1938   MacGillivray Milne, Governor
26 June 1938 — 30 July 1940   Edward William Hanson, Governor
30 July 1940 — 8 August 1940   Jesse R. Wallace, acting Governor
8 August 1940 — 5 June 1942   Laurence Wild, Governor
17 January 1942 — 25 April 1942   Henry Louis Larsen, Military Governor
5 June 1942 — 8 February 1944   John Gould Moyer, Governor
8 February 1944 — 27 January 1945   Allen Hobbs, Governor
27 January 1945 — 3 September 1945   Ralph Waldo Hungerford, Governor
3 September 1945 — 10 September 1945   Samuel Canan, acting Governor
10 September 1945 — 22 April 1947   Harold Houser, Governor
22 April 1947 — 15 June 1949   Vernon Huber, Governor
7 July 1949 — 23 February 1951   Thomas Francis Darden, Jr., Governor

Appointed governors (1951–1978)Edit

Civilian governor Took office Left office
    Phelps Phelps
(1897–1981)
February 23, 1951 June 20, 1952
    John C. Elliott
(1919–2001)
July 16, 1952 November 23, 1952
    James Arthur Ewing
(born 1916)
November 28, 1952 March 4, 1953
    Lawrence M. Judd
(1887–1968)
March 4, 1953 August 5, 1953
    Richard Barrett Lowe
(1902–1972)
August 5, 1953 October 15, 1956
    Peter Tali Coleman
(1919–1997)
October 13, 1956 May 24, 1961
    Hyrum Rex Lee
(1910–2001)
May 24, 1961 July 31, 1967
    Owen Stuart Aspinall
(1927–1997)
August 1, 1967 July 31, 1969
    John Morse Haydon
(1920–1991)
August 1, 1969 October 14, 1974
    Frank C. Mockler
(acting)
(1909–1993)
October 14, 1974 February 6, 1975
    Earl B. Ruth
(1916–1989)
February 6, 1975 September 30, 1976
    Frank Barnett
(1933–2016)
October 1, 1976 May 27, 1977
    Hyrum Rex Lee
(1910–2001)
May 28, 1977 January 3, 1978

Elected governors (1978–present)Edit

Governor Took office Left office Party Elected Lieutenant Governor
51   Peter Tali Coleman
(1919–1997)
January 3, 1978

January 3, 1985
Republican 1977
1980
Tufele Liamatua
52     A. P. Lutali
(1919–2002)
January 3, 1985

January 2, 1989
Democratic 1984 Eni Faleomavaega
53   Peter Tali Coleman
(1919–1997)
January 2, 1989

January 3, 1993
Republican 1988 Galea'i Peni Poumele
  Gaioi Tufele Galeai
54   A. P. Lutali
(1919–2002)
January 3, 1993

January 3, 1997
Democratic 1992 Tauese Sunia
55   Tauese Sunia
(1941–2003)
January 3, 1997

March 26, 2003
Democratic 1996
2000
Togiola Tulafono
  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 Matalasi Moliga
(born 1949)
January 3, 2013

Incumbent
Independent 2012
2016
Lemanu Peleti Mauga
Democratic

SuccessionEdit

Living former governorsEdit

There is one living former governor of American Samoa. The most recent-serving governor to die was Frank Barnett (1976–1977), on July 15, 2016.[3]

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Togiola Tulafono 2003–2013 (1947-02-28) February 28, 1947 (age 72)

Latest electionEdit

Election results, Governor of American Samoa, November 6, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga 4,372 33.5
Democratic Faoa Aitofele Sunia 4,315 33.1
Independent Afoa Moega Lutu 2,521 19.3
Independent Salu Hunkin-Finau 893 6.8
Independent Save Liuato Tuitele 763 5.8
Independent Timothy Jones 189 1.4
Total votes 13,053 100

Due to no candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote a runoff election was held.

Runoff election results, Governor of American Samoa, November 20, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga 6,645 52.9
Democratic Faoa Aitofele Sunia 5,908 47.1
Total votes 12,553 100

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sunia, Fofō 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. ^ "Frank Barnett, former governor of American Samoa, dies". www.knoxnews.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.