Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gregorio Camacho 'Kilili' Sablan for Delegate

This photo has nothing to do with Kilili or the election.
There is an online poll on the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Facebook Page that asks the question, "If the election were held today, who would you vote for Delegate to the United States Congress?"  As of this writing, Ignacia Tudela Demapan has received eight votes.  Gregorio Camacho 'Kilili' Sablan has earned 170.

In the 2010 election, which was a four-way race, Sablan garnered more votes than the second and third place contenders combined.  And it is worth nothing that most of the votes for the fourth place candidate, a Democrat, would have gone to Kilili had he not been in the race.

Everyone in a community has their own particular issue, and my big one is the proper management of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.  Early in his first term, several members of the Friends of the Marianas Trench, including Laurie Peterka, Ike Cabrera, Agnes McPhetres, Karl Reyes, Mike Tripp, Jane Mack, and myself, asked Kilili to introduce legislation that would transfer management authority for the monument from USFWS and NOAA NMFS to NOAA ONMS.  We believed then, and are being proven correct now, that the Sanctuaries Office's mission was more in line with the intent of the monument declaration.  Kilili wasn't interested in wading into that battle (and a neutral observer would likely say it was the right decision on his part), but Kilili did everything in his power as the new Delegate to help fulfill the promises of the monument.

In his first year in office, Kilili was able to procure nearly $1/4 million to design the (Angelo O'Connor Villagomez) Mariana Trench Discovery Center.  The US Congress earmarked the funds to ONMS, which contracted with the local DLNR to conduct outreach activities and design a visitors center.  Some of the money also went to DEQ to support their activities.

That was three years ago.  So all the complaining you hear from the Fitial Administration and WESPAC about no visitors center being built is empty rhetoric; they already have the money for it and have chosen not to use it for its intended purpose.  Kilili fulfilled his part of the bargain, but local politicians are screwing things up.  It is my belief that there are certain individuals who would rather see the monument fail than have the local people benefit from its creation, but that's a topic for another post altogether.

And I think this situation has played out many times over with a number of different issues.  Food stamps come to mind.  So does the full implementation of the Covenant, which the Administration is blocking.  Kilili is doing his job.  He's representing us in Congress and he's bringing home the bacon, but his efforts are stymied by local politicians.

Having been a candidate myself and having had three years to reflect on my campaign, I realize that there is really only one perfect candidate: yourself.  Candidates are people, too, and you will never agree 100% with the positions and opinions of the people you choose to represent you.  Given that, unless you are willing to put yourself out there, you have to pick from those who decide to throw their hats in the ring.

And with Kilili, you get one of the very best representatives the Commonwealth has ever had in our 36 year history.  There is no other candidate that is willing to stand up in front of a room of anyone that chooses to go to a town hall meeting and answer every question he gets asked, even the outrageous ones. He's the only candidate that reaches out to citizens that can't vote (the cynic would say it's because their kids can vote, but he's still the only one who does it).  And of all the politicians in the Commonwealth, he's the one who has let the power of his office go to his head the least, if at all (I have to roll my eyes at the guys who win with 600 votes and suddenly think they are experts in economics, health care, and oh, just about everything).

And trumping all other considerations, Kilili is a really nice guy and truly cares about the people he represents.  So while I do not agree 100% with all of Kilili's positions, I have a great deal of respect for him and heartily endorse him for reelection.

I will be voting for Kilili and I encourage you to vote for him, too.


Brad Ruszala said...

This would make a great Letter to the Editor, but I suggest that you remove the "Angelo O'Connor Villagomez" part from the Marianas Trench Discovery Center.

That is, unless you decide to call it the Angelo O'Connor Villagomez Marianas Trench Discovery Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Want to Learn How to do Other Stuff Good, Too.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Nah, I'd rather have people visit my blog. The deadline to turn in campaign papers is August 8. I haven't been hearing of a lot of people running for office this year, not like last time.