Lawyer learns lessons

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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NEW M.P for Vaimauga West: Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u.

NEW M.P for Vaimauga West: Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u.

The new Member of Parliament for Vaimauga West No.2, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainu’u, cannot be happier. And with the official result of the General Election confirming his seat in the next Parliamentary sitting, he is indeed a gratified man.

But he admits that he wouldn’t have been here if he hadn’t learnt some tough lessons in the past.

This is Fa’aolesa’s second time contesting the election, after he failed in 2011.

“I learnt a few lessons from back then and it helped me a lot in preparing for this year’s contest,” he said.“And from all our hard work and the efforts by my committee, I knew the margin of votes would be substantial.”

A lawyer by profession, Fa’aolesa unseated another lawyer, Lefau Harry Schuster and former member of the Tautua Party. Fa’aolesa won with a whopping 1556 votes ahead of Lefau’s 482. “I have worked really hard preparing for this election and I am grateful that it all turned out well,” he told the Sunday Samoan. 

But Faaolesa wasn’t surprised by the result. He instead credited the hard work of his committee.

“I wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for their kind words of encouragement and support,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to know that they [constituents] are behind you.”

A graduate from the San Diego University with a degree in International relations, he said that becoming a Member of Parliament is a dream come true. “I know it won’t be easy and it comes with a lot of challenges, but this is something I’ve always wanted to achieve.I believe everything is possible with God leading the way.” His plan now is to be the voice of his constituents in Parliament and represent them with honour.

As for the H.R.P.P., Fa’aolesa said he believes in the party. 

 “I fully endorse H.R.P.P’s role as the leading advocator in early literacy education efforts, which is essential to starting children on the right foot and addressing deficiencies starting from the kindergarten level. In my view, this will make all the difference in graduation rates and college enrolments, and I couldn’t agree more.”

Fa’aolesa hails from the villages of Apia, Malie, Salani, Lalomanu, Iva and Sapapali’i.  The 52-year-old is married to Diana Ainu’u and they have three children. 

He was born in Savai’i when his father was posted as a police officer at the Tuasivi Police station and they moved back to Apia when he was in year 3.  He is an old student of Marist Primary School and St. Joseph’s College. He got a scholarship to go and study Mathematics and Chemistry at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji for four years.

He came back from Fiji then moved to Pago Pago and attended the American Samoa Community College. He then received a scholarship from the American Samoa government to go study at the University of San Diego in California. He graduated with a Bachelor in International Relations from the University of San Diego. 

In the year 1988, he worked at the Attorney General’s office in Pago for one year, before he went on to study law at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. 

He has been practicing law in Samoa since he was admitted to the local bar in 1996. He is also a member of the American Samoa and the United State’s lawyers association.  

In the year 2001, he moved back to Samoa permanently, setting up the Ainu’u Law Firm at Malifa. And now with his new calling, the Law Firm is something he might have to put on the backburner for now.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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