By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge
One of the elder statesman for Asian American and Pacific Islanders was praised for his commitment to his constituents in American Samoa after he passed away Wednesday.
Eni F.H. Faleomavaega passed away in Utah. He is survived by his wife and five children.
Faleomavaega served as the U.S. Rep. from American Samoa from 1989 to 2015. He was previously the Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa from 1985 to 1989.
He served as an Infantry captain in the War in Southeast Asia. He studied at Brigham Young University and earned law degrees at the University of Houston and the University of California at Berkeley.
“It is with pleasure that I say that life with Eni was far from dull,” his wife, Hinanui Hunkin, told The Associated Press via email from Provo on Wednesday night. “I am so grateful for the trust that the people of American Samoa, for so many years, placed in him as their servant. I love and miss you, American Samoa.”
Born in Vailoatai Village on the U.S. territory, Faleomavaega graduated from Kahuku High School in Hawaii in 1962. He then earned a bachelor of arts in political science and history from Brigham Young University in Utah in 1966.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Eni Faleomavaega – a true patriot, leader, and friend,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).
“Throughout his distinguished military and public service career, Eni dedicated his life to putting country above self. As one of the founding members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, as well as the longest serving delegate to represent American Samoa in the U.S. House of Representatives, he was a strong champion for his constituents and the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
“During his time in Congress, he worked to secure critical funding to improve America Samoa’s infrastructure, health care system, and schools. As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, he also worked tirelessly to cultivate stronger U.S. relations throughout the Asia-Pacific region and to highlight the strategic role of our U.S. territories in the Pacific.
“I always enjoyed working with Eni, and will never forget his unwavering dedication to advancing the rights of his constituents and all Americans. His leadership will truly be missed.”
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