Tauese Sunia, American Samoa Gov, died at 61

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drtgdrte546we44refsTauese Tuailemafua Pita Fiti Sunia, born on August 29, 1941 and died March 26, 2003, he was the Governor of American Samoa from 1997 until his death in 2003.

Tauese was a member of the Democratic Party.

He won the election of 1996 in a close runoff with Lealaifuaneva Peter Reid (51%-48%).

The runoff was caused by a split in the Democratic Party in American Samoa between Sunia and incumbent governor Lutali Aifili Paulo Lauvao, who received third place, with no candidate gaining a majority.

Tauese won another close victory against Reid in the 2000 election, 50%–48%, with no runoff.

During Sunia’s term of office a protest was issued against Samoa, formerly named Western Samoa, for changing its official name to the shorter form.

The official view in American Samoa is that such a form detracts from the Samoan identity of American Samoa, and public officials and documents from American Samoa still refer to Samoa as “Western Samoa”.

Tauese died during his second term, on March 26, 2003, while on a flight to Hawaii to receive medical treatment, becoming only the second governor of American Samoa, and the first civilian one, to die in office.

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