Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why I Like Governor Fitial

Last night I had dinner with some family members on Guam and the conversation turned to Saipan politics -- as it always does.  One of my cousins attended the rally to impeach the governor held along Beach Road a few weeks ago and said that she had asked one of the administration's supporters to list some good things the governor had done, but that the supporter had not gotten back to her.

The people who want to see Fitial removed from office have little understanding of why anyone would remain silent about his perceived misdoings, never mind support him.  I can think of a few reasons to support the governor:

- He is a relative or friend
- He is is a political ally
- He provides employment

For thousands of people living on Saipan, these three reasons are enough.  Case closed, they support the governor.  Many of my very close relatives support the governor for these reasons.  The governor's godfather is Ignacio Pangelinan Villagomez; IPV is my grandfather.  By the Chamorro interpretation of Catholic convention, he is my father's brother.  Governor Fitial is my Uncle Ben.  And I'm the 50th grandchild in my family.  The governor is literally Uncle Ben to hundreds and thousands of people (not to mention his biological family and extended family!)

Thousands of people continue to support the governor in much the same way millions of Americans are able to overlook President Barack Obama's shortcomings in order to ensure Democrats maintain control of the White House.  For example, I may not like the health care law, but Mitt Romney has made some very strong statements against marine protected areas (not to mention evolution and climate change).  Obama is not necessarily the lesser of two evils, but in my opinion he is certainly better than Mitt Romney.

And to prove my point, here are some reason's to support Governor Ben Fitial:

- The Fitial Administration has been a stalwart supporter of Beautify CNMI.
- Governor Fitial is a regional and global leader in environmental protection with his support of the Micronesia Challenge and the Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary.
- In 2008, Governor Fitial hired Aggreko to provide temporary power relief so that the generators could be fixed, ending months of blackouts.
- Despite 50% drop in government revenue, nobody in government has lost a job.
- Governor Fitial supported the creation of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.
- Governor Fitial is extremely pro-business and supports local control of immigration and minimum wage.
- Governor Fitial supports casinos, development, and the militarization of the Northern Islands, which many believe will bring economic benefits

I'm sure the supporters have other reasons, but these are the ones that popped into my head as I was writing this blog (and I don't want to be accused of being part of the governor's propaganda machine).

And for the record, three years ago I wrote that the governor should resign:
"(I)t is not too early to call for his resignation. We shouldn’t have to impeach him. We shouldn’t have to wait for him to be indicted. He has shamed himself, shamed his office, and shamed us. Governor Fitial should resign."
But at this point I don't really care if the governor resigns or gets impeached.  Things won't change much under an Eloy Inos Administration.