Agnes McPhetres and I just spent four days knocking on doors in Washington, DC telling our story and sharing our concerns about the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. Our goal is to ensure that the United States Government keeps its promises to the people of the Northern Mariana Islands and places a monument headquarters and visitors center in the CNMI.
Here are some photos of people we met along the way:
Agnes and I met with Representative Sablan and his staff several times last week. This photo made it into Kilili's weekly email to constituents.
That's Sylvan Igisomar, CNMI Director of Fish & Wildlife. Sylvan's Dad and my Dad were delegates to the CNMI's first Constitutional Convention. Sylvan was in town for the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting and to assist Governor Fitial with his testimony before the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife.
That's Allen Tom from the Pacific Island Region of NOAA Santuaries. We ran into him a few times during the week and had dinner with him one night. We first met him back in 2008 when it looked like the monument was going to be given to NOAA Sanctuaries. The other man in the photo is Andrew Winer who is NOAA's Director of External Affairs.
Fran Castro was in DC for the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting. Fran works for CNMI DEQ and is the Chair of MINA. She was also my boss for a couple of weeks. Fran and MINA were very important supporters of the monument leading up to its designation.
It's a small world after all. I ran into Kate "Texas Thunder" Alexander in the Metro. We went to college together at Rollins.
I would like to note that I lost my hat sometime between the time this photo was taken and the day I left DC. Dang it!
Lynn Knight was one of our most important supporters in the run up to the creation of the mnument. We met her at Thursday's hearing.
That's the head of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Dan Basta. We asked him if NOAA Sanctuaries could establish a presence in the Northern Mariana Islands, starting with the planning and construction of a Mariana Trench Visitors Center. Agnes and I left the meeting feeling optimistic.
My grey suit fit me when I bought it about six months ago. One downside of running for office is stress. I eat when I'm stressed. I get fat when I eat.
While I've been a bad Rotarian and haven't attended a single meeting since I left Saipan, I did manage to spend some time with Rotarian Lily and her significant other (Jay's holding the camera). Plus, Agnes is a Rotarian and I was with her for four days, so does that could for anything? I didn't think so either.
We had several other meetings, but I felt like a dork asking people I had just met if we could take a photo with them. I'll feel more comfortable next time around, perhaps.