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In other news...
Both newspapers reported on yesterday's forum at the Chamber of Commerce. From the Saipan Tribune:
The nine candidates for Saipan mayor yesterday presented their individual platforms to members and guests of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, but some of them ran out of time to read their entire prepared speech and instead distributed campaign flyers and brochures instead.And the Marianas Variety:
The Chamber gave the candidates only four minutes each to present their platform.
Almost all of the candidates spoke of preserving the beauty of Saipan and in improving the lives of residents, while some offered unique ideas to be able to make a difference and try to win people's votes in the Nov. 7 elections.
Chamber vice president Doug Brennan presented the candidates as follows: Marian DLG. Tudela, Angelo O. Villagomez, Juan S. Demapan, Donald P. Flores, Antonio Camacho, Roman Benavente, Jose DLG. Sanchez, Lino Tenorio, and Candido Taman.
Villagomez, who was the only candidate in coat and tie, stressed the importance of enhancing Saipan as a tourist destination and as a safe community through beautification projects, cleanups, dog control program and enforcement of the CNMI Litter Control Act, among other things.
He said one of his first tasks will be to conduct an audit to determine the effectiveness of the Saipan Mayor's Office.
FOUR of the nine candidates in the Saipan mayoral race have vowed to do something about the island’s stray dog problem.The Marianas Variety also published a letter to the editor about my candidacy all the way from Laos.
Angelo O. Villagomez, Antonio M. Camacho, Roman C. Benavente and Donald G. Flores told the Saipan Chamber of Commerce yesterday that the issue will be among their top priorities.
Villagomez, an environmentalist and animal welfare advocate, said his beautification program includes a solution to the problem of stray dogs.
Villagomez is the Democratic candidate.
I MET Angelo Villagomez a few years back. He was introduced to me by Ken Kramer as the consultant for Beautify CNMI! There wasn't anything interesting with him when I met him the first time. The next meeting was when he visited our office to introduce Beautify CNMI! My employer then, Bridge Capital LLC, was looking for a community project. Angelo is a good salesman. He knew what he was selling. His eyes showed his passion for what he was doing.I have to admit that my heart nearly stopped beating as I read those first few paragraphs. Great finish though! Thank you, Irene.
Few years later, I met Angelo in Rotary Club of Saipan. I don't know what happened between the time I met him in our office and the day I saw him again. All I knew was I wasn't comfortable with him. I would always try to avoid him if I could. Looking back, I think that the reason was that he is closely associated with Cinta Kaipat and being so, to me he was guilty by association.
One day, I was having a lunch with my friend and fellow advocate Thess Samson in Bobby's Cadillac. Lo and behold! Angelo was there. He was all smiles as he approached our table. I started to talk about my favorite subject which was the plight of the CNMI guest workers to sort of put a line. It was a line that I was hoping he wouldn't cross or else. On the contrary, Angelo surprised me with his views and opinions. I found him to be reasonable, idealistic, articulate and positive. He changed my opinion about him. I immediately became a great fan. I was so awed that I told him I don't mind having him as my son-in-law! Angelo and I would laugh about it. Of course, my daughter was way too young for him. I started to call him "my son-in-law."
Angelo, it was an honor to have served in the same Rotary Club with you. In some ways, you inspired me because you showed me that nothing is really impossible. All it takes is an unwavering commitment. You inspired me not to be afraid. For you, nothing is too big or too small. I was not surprised to know that you're running for a public office. I know it came from your sincere desire to serve the people. I know you can do it.
I wish that I was there to help in your campaign. You know that I would if I was there.
I pray that Saipan will give you a chance. They need someone who could offer a change. And change is you, my son-in-law, Angelo!
IRENE N. TANTIADO