Thursday, January 10, 2008

Faleomavaega AWOL for CODEL Visit

In Washington speak that probably got its start in the military, a traveling delegation of Members of Congress is called a CODEL for short. Well, a very high-powered CODEL made it to Guam and American Samoa during the period between sessions over the Holidays. Led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), a bipartisan group of a dozen House members made a day and a half visit to Guam as part of their swing through parts of Asia, Australia and New Zealand. According to press coverage on Guam, both Hoyer and Blunt gave credit to Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo for insisting on a Guam stop and praised her for her tireless efforts for Congressional action on Guam issues.

We understand that the itinerary did not orginally have a stop scheduled for American Samoa but after complaints by Faleomavaega, a refueling/rest stop in Pago Pago was added after New Zealand.

A big page one photo in the January 10 issue of Samoa News shows Lt. Gov. Ipulasi Sunia greets the CODEL leaders: Hoyer, Blunt and Bordallo. What's wrong with this picture? Well. No governor for starters. He's still in the hospital following emergency surgery over the weekend. And I'm sure there is some squirming on Hoyer's staff since fellow Democrat Sunia is under federal indictment for alleged procurement illegalities when he was government treasurer. But also absent from the photo? Faleomavaega!! The wandering delegate had a conflict. He's off touring the Middle East at the moment, thank you. But he did send his best regards.

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