Members of the public joined the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) to meet this year’s candidates for American Samoa’s seat in the US Congress during a Congressional Forum held on Tuesday, October 23rd, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Center Auditorium. Incumbent Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, along with challengers Tuika Tuika Jr. and Meleane Chapman, accepted invitations to participate in the Forum, which was organized by the ASCC Business Department and its official student club the Business Ambassadors of American Samoa (BAOA).
The Forum went by the theme “Voice For Tomorrow,” and each candidate was asked to share their vision for American Samoa, highlighting their list of priorities if elected or re-elected to Congress. The candidates were asked about their personal experience of working within the federal government, and also what federal initiatives they would advocate for to benefit the Territory. The candidates each had 20 minutes to give an initial presentation, followed by a 10 minute rebuttal period to respond to each other. The remainder of the Forum consisted of the Congressional contenders addressing questions from the audience.
BAOA, which hosted the event, is comprised of students majoring in Business Management and Accounting, and as such, they consider themselves stakeholders in the economic future of American Samoa, over which the Territory’s Congressional representative exerts a great influence. As is customary with ASCC events involving the community, BAOA extended the invitation to the College’s administration, faculty, staff and students to attend and participate in the Forum, along with the general public.
“Our institution holds as one of its Core Values the respect for tradition and culture,” said Business Department chairperson Dr. Faofua Faatoafe. “Our Congressional Forum, like the many before it at ASCC, is part of a democratic tradition where candidates who want to serve in government come face to face with the people whom they wish to represent, and explain why they are the best person for the job. This is part of the tradition of democracy and the culture of accountability.”
For more information on the ASCC Congressional Forum, call the College’s main switchboard at 699-9155, and ask for the Business Department at extension 382.