NMI Democrats file candidacies 

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THE NMI Democratic Party hopefuls on Wednesday filed their candidacies with the Commonwealth Election Commission.

Accompanied by family members and supporters, including U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, who is running unopposed as an independent candidate, the local Democrats fielded a much larger slate of candidates compared to the previous years.

In the 2018 elections, the party did not have any candidates. The last time a Democratic candidate won an election was in 2007, for a Precinct 4 House seat.

The senatorial candidate of the party on Saipan is former Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero.

The Precinct 1 candidates are House Minority Leader Edwin Propst, Celina Roberto Babauta who served as executive assistant to former Gov. Juan N. Babauta; entrepreneur and former teacher Peter Muna; former Customs officer Benusto “Ben” Piteg; and Antonio Cabrera, a project coordinator for Herman Cabrera & Associates.

Precinct 1 has six House seats.

In Precinct 2, which has two seats,  Rep. Tina Sablan is running with retired teacher Luella Marciano.

The Precinct 3 Democrats are former Military and Veteran Affairs Director Vicente Camacho; musician Alfred Saures; Commonwealth Utilities Corp. budget officer Corina Magofna; and long-time educator and former Yap second lady Denita Yangetmai.

Precinct 3 has six House seats.

The NMI Democratic Party candidates pose for photo after filing their candidacies with the Commonwealth Election Commission on Wednesday. Contributed photo


U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan holds a campaign poster of Precinct 1 House candidate Celina Babauta at the Commonwealth Election Commission on Wednesday. Contributed photo

In Precinct 4, Rep. Sheila Babauta is running with Department of Commerce Workers Compensation Commission analyst Jenita Castro.

In Precinct 5, Rep. Richard Lizama is running with Kagman High School principal Leila Staffler.

On Tinian, the Democratic candidates are former Star Marianas safety manager Jose “Gurak” Cruz, who is running for the Senate, and Army veteran Fredrick Dela Cruz who is seeking a House seat.

On Rota, Sen. Paul A. Manglona and his nephew, Rep. Donald Manglona, are seeking reelection as Democrats.

The NMI Democrats are also supporting Kilili’s bid for a seventh term as the islands’ delegate to the U.S. Congress, party president Nola Hix said.

“We fully support and stand behind Kilili’s candidacy as we all share the same values and want what’s best for the CNMI,” she added.

She said the NMI Democratic Party is proud of the candidates who have come forward to run for office.

“These 20 candidates are ready to restore integrity, accountability, transparency and most especially respect to CNMI government,” she added.

“I think our people of the CNMI have spoken. They are ready for change. But most importantly, we are the people’s party and we are ready to do good for the CNMI,” Hix said, adding that she is excited for the nine women who have stepped up to the plate to run for office.

For her part, Celina Babauta said: “For far too long women have been taught to think of other women as the competition or even a threat. It is time we unite.  It is time we unite for the sake of our children, our parents, our manamko’ and our fellow citizens.”

She added, “I fuetstan famalao'an, fuetsan I familia. I am calling on women of all ages to stand with me on Nov. 3rd. Our matriarchal voices must be heard, it must be united and we must speak with our votes. Your votes must be decisive. Trust in our government has never been more urgent or important than it is today.”

She said,  “It is unfortunate that those in office and in our government today have instead confiscated our retirees’ pensions and have placed the onus of the government's mounting deficit on the laps of our schoolchildren. They have perverted the very system that brought them to power in the first place.”

She also said, “The schoolchildren and our retirees had nothing to do with the deficit. The stakes are high this November, your children's education and our manamko's pensions are in peril.  The Commonwealth's political conundrum has become an engine of the status quo, going nowhere at great expense to the people, as special interests have succeeded in preventing meaningful change. Breaking free of this political culture requires a new direction, one that is fueled by moral standards of where we need to go. What is the right thing to do? That is the question that should guide our choices. The choices are crystal clear this November. Vote for me and my fellow candidates because the ability to change our direction and define our future lies in your capable hands. We must not allow our government to continue to mortgage the future. We must not make our children pay tomorrow for today's carelessness.”

Ben Piteg, for his part, said he is seeking office so he can “fight for the government employees who were furloughed, protect retirees’ pensions and stop the corruption in the government.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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