Togiola T. A. Tulafono became acting governor on March 26, 2003, following Governor Tauese P.F. Sunia’s sudden death. He was sworn in as governor of American Samoa on April 7, 2003. A lawyer with approximately 20 years in private practice, Tulafono started as a police officer before becoming an administrative assistant for the Secretary of Samoan affairs, Samoan assistant to the attorney general, district court judge, senator of Saole County for four years, senator of Sua County for eight years, first chairman of the board of directors for the American Samoa Power Authority and first chairman of the Board of Higher Education. He served as lieutenant governor of American Samoa from Jan. 1997 until Apr. 2003 before the interim governorship of Apr. 2003 to Nov. 2004.
Tulafono was subsequently elected as governor twice; on November 16, 2004 and, on November 18, 2008. He served until January 3, 2013. He has been a deacon for more than 25 years at the Congregational Christian Church in Sa’ilele, American Samoa, and has served as a vice chairman of the territorial church general assembly. He was educated at Samoana High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Chadron State College in Nebraska and also received a doctor of laws degree from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. His many accomplishments include the development of American Samoa’s highways and internet communications infrastructures, and, promoting the preservation of American Samoa’s traditional culture and natural environment. Governor and Mrs. Maryann Tulafono also engaged in active support of American Samoa’s military families.