It often happens that talented educators go on to become effective politicians. One excellent example of this is Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga, a high school teacher who is currently serving as the governor of American Samoa in 2012.
Lolo was born in 1949 in Ta’u, Manu’a, in the Territory of American Samoa. His father was Moliga Sa’ena Auauan Moliga, a High Chief from Ta’u. His mother was Soali’i Galea’i, a native of both Olosega and Fitiuta.
Following his graduation from Manu’a High School, Lolo enrolled in Nebraska’s Chadron State College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from San Diego State University in 2012.
After his graduation from Chadron, Lolo went back to his native Samoa and accepted a position as a teacher. Later he became the principal of Manu’a High School. He also served as the elementary and secondary education administrator for the American Samoan Department of Education. In addition, he became the director of the ASG Budget Office and served two terms as the chief procurement officer for American Samoa. Lolo’s talents as a politician were so evident, he was elected to the American Samoa House of Representatives for four terms and then was elected a senator. While in that governing body, he served as the Senate’s president. Then-serving Governor Togiola Tulafono appointed Lolo president of the Development Bank of American Samoa. As if all this wasn’t enough, Lolo is also the owner of his own construction firm.
In the 2012, Lolo was elected the 57th governor of American Samoa in a runoff election. Part of his effort as governor has been to increase the number and qualifications of the Department of Education teachers who staff the territory’s schools and to upgrade school facilities. He has also worked to reduce injuries to students while they are participating in sports programs. “I wanted to make sure that we provided the best possible options for our island,” Lolo explained. “This is not something small, it is affecting our people’s lives.”
Lolo resides in American Samoa with his wife, Cynthia Malala, and their four children.