Eni Faleomavaega

Eni Faleomavaega
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega.jpg
Delegate to the
U.S. House of Representatives
from American Samoa's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byFofó Sunia
Succeeded byAmata Coleman Radewagen
3rd Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 2, 1989
GovernorA. P. Lutali
Preceded byTufele Liamatua
Succeeded byGalea'i Peni Poumele
Personal details
Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega Jr.

(1943-08-15)August 15, 1943
Vailoatai, American Samoa, U.S.
DiedFebruary 22, 2017(2017-02-22) (aged 73)
Provo, Utah, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Hinanui Bambridge Cave
EducationBrigham Young University (B.A.)
University of Houston (J.D.)
University of California (L.L.M.)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
 • United States Army Reserve
Years of service1966–1969 (Active)
1982–1990 (Reserve)
RankUS military captain's rank.gif Captain
Unit100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsCommendation Medal

Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega Jr. (/ˈɛn fəˌl.mɑːvəˈɛŋɡə/; August 15, 1943 – February 22, 2017) was an American Samoan politician who served as the territory's lieutenant governor and congressional delegate.[1][2]

Early life, education, and military service[edit]

Faleomavaega was born in Vailoatai Village, American Samoa, but he grew up in Oahu, Hawaii. He graduated from Kahuku High School and attended Brigham Young University-Hawaii, where he earned his associate degree. He then transferred to Brigham Young University's main campus in Utah and earned a bachelor's degree in political science. He attended the University of Houston Law Center and the UC-Berkeley, earning his Juris Doctor and Master of Law degrees. He served in the United States Army from 1966–69, and as an officer in the United States Army Reserve from 1982 to 1989. He served in the Vietnam War[citation needed] and left the military with the rank of captain. He and his wife were active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Faleomavaega served as the administrative assistant to American Samoa Delegate A.U. Fuimaono from 1973 to 1975 and as staff counsel for the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs from 1975 to 1981. He worked as Deputy Attorney General of American Samoa for the territory of American Samoa between 1981 and 1984.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Faleomavaega entered elective politics when he ran alongside A. P. Lutali in the 1985 gubernatorial race. He served as Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa from 1985–89. In 1987, he participated in an event that followed traditional Polynesian life experiences by sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii in a canoe.[4]

Congressional delegate[edit]

Faleomavaega and former president of the Marshall Islands Kessai Note.
Faleomavaega, a superdelegate, announces the distribution of American Samoa's delegate votes as part of the roll call of the states during the third day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Faleomavaega was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives in 1988, serving from January 3, 1989 until January 2015.[4] As a delegate, he has worked to receive more federal funding for his home territory, particularly for health care and other essential services. He has opposed free trade deals involving meats and seafood, as nearly one-third of his territory's population is involved in the tuna industry. He proposed legislation that would allow residents of US territories to vote in presidential elections if they are active duty members of the military.[5] Faleomavaega also participated in a boycott of Jacques Chirac, who made a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in 1996, due to French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Committee assignments[edit]

Faleomavaega was a member of the following committees in the House of Representatives:


Support for Sri Lanka's war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam[edit]

Faleomavaega has said that it is more opportune if the United States could refrain from interfering in internal affairs of Sri Lanka. He took the initiative of briefing members of the Sub Committee on Asia and the Pacific of the US House of Representatives in this respect.[6]

Support for American Samoa's independence[edit]

In 2012, both Faleomavaega and Togiola Tulafono, American Samoa's Governor, called for the populace to consider a move towards autonomy if not independence, to a mixed response.[7][8]

Support for Bahrain's monarchy[edit]

Faleomavaega was known for his vocal support of Bahrain's monarchy during the Bahraini uprising. One of Faleomavaega's top campaign donors, William Nixon, is a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist whose firm, Policy Impact Communications, founded the pro-monarchy Bahrain American Council.[9] He has taken various paid trips to Bahrain to meet with that country's rulers.[10]


VA Clinic[edit]

On March 31, 2017, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 1362 into law. H.R. 1362 names the VA clinic in Pago Pago, American Samoa, the "Faleomavaega Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin VA Clinic."[11] The bill was sponsored by Delegate Amata Coleman Radewagen, Faleomavaega's successor as representative from American Samoa, and co-sponsored by five others.[12]


Faleomavaega suffered from complications that he said are from his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War[13][14] Voters' concerns about his health are speculated to have contributed to his 2014 election defeat.[13][14]

Faleomavaega died at the age of 73 on Wednesday, February 22, 2017. The cause was not specified. He was survived by his wife, 5 children, and 10 grandchildren.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Eni Faleomavaega, who served 13 terms as delegate from American Samoa, dies at 73". Washington Post.
  2. ^ American Samoa Congressional Map Archived 2006-01-26 at the Wayback Machine He is the father-in-law of Cincinnati Bengals' football player Fui Vakapuna
  3. ^ "Rep. Eni Faleomavaega | 17 Mormons in Congress in 2013". Deseret News. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  4. ^ a b "Biography of Eni Faleomavaega". U.S. Congress. Archived from the original on 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
  5. ^ "Eni Faleomavaega, United States Congress". House.gov. 1943-08-15. Archived from the original on 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  6. ^ "Double Standards in US Foreign Policy Questioned". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  7. ^ "American Samoa must consider independence - congressman | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia". Radioaustralia.net.au. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  8. ^ "Call for independence discussion for American Samoa | ABC Radio Australia". Radioaustralia.net.au. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  9. ^ Elliot, Justin (April 2, 2012). "Meet Bahrain's Best Friend in Congress". ProPublica.
  10. ^ Elliot, Justin (April 11, 2012). "Law Shrouds Details of Congressional Trips Abroad". ProPublica.
  11. ^ "H.R. 1362 Text - 115th Congress (2017-2018)". US Congress. April 5, 2017.
  12. ^ "Territory's VA clinic now officially named after Faleomavaega Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin | Samoa News". samoanews.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  13. ^ a b Fili Sagapolutele (November 9, 2014). "1st Woman Elected as American Samoa Delegate". Associated Press. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  14. ^ a b Cama, Timothy (November 5, 2014) - "American Samoa Delegate Loses Seat". The Hill. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  15. ^ "Eni Faleomavaega, 73, American Samoa's Long-Serving Delegate to Congress, Dies".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Tufele Liamatua
Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa
Succeeded by
Galea'i Peni Poumele
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Fofó Sunia
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from American Samoa's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Amata Coleman Radewagen