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2 GOP lawmakers talk about their accomplishments, plans

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PRECINCTS 4 and 5 Republican candidates Rep. Joel Camacho and Vice Speaker Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero appeared on KKMP radio Friday to discuss their accomplishments as well as their plans for the community.

Camacho, who was first elected in 2018, chairs the House Committee on Judiciary and Fiscal Operations. He also serves as vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and is a member of a number of other committees, including Federal & Foreign Affairs, Health and Welfare, and Ways and Means.

In Precinct 4, which has two House seats, he is running with  Cecilia Taitano who has served as a police officer, public information officer, director of the CNMI Arts Council and secretary of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. She is also a former Miss Teen CNMI, and a member of various boards of directors.

From left, Rep. Joel Camacho and Vice Speaker Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero. 

In Precinct 5, Vice Speaker Deleon Guerrero is running with former Rep. Ramon S. Basa.

Deleon Guerrero was first elected to the House in 2012.

He currently serves as vice chair of the House Committees on Education, Gaming, and Judiciary and Governmental Operations, and serves as a member on a number of other committees, including Health and Welfare.

Infrastructure projects

The vice speaker emphasized that he has been pushing for a number of infrastructure projects in Precinct 5, mainly the improvement of at least 14 streets and roads in his community.

He has also supported a number of beautification projects, including improving bus shelters.

If reelected, the vice speaker said he intends to construct a transfer station in Kagman to reduce the burden of transporting trash down to Lower Base.

"I believe that we can make that a success within a year or so because we already secured funding for transfer stations," he said, referring to about $56 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Saipan, Rota, and Tinian.

He said land has already been identified for the construction of this transfer station, and that it is within reach of all Kagman residents and can also be accessed by residents of neighboring villages.

The vice speaker also credited the Office of the Mayor of Saipan for aiding in his efforts to clean up Precinct 5 through the removal of junk cars, among other projects.

He said he introduced a bill that became law to designate LaoLao Bay Drive and Kannat Tabla as federal highways.

"We still have a lot of work to do," he said, adding that several projects  still need to be completed, such as the lighting of the Kagman walk path and further promotion of the agriculture and fishing industries to help boost the domestic economy.

He said he also intends to construct the first ever youth center in Precinct 5.

Improvement projects

Rep. Joel Camacho, for his part, has pushed for a number of improvement projects in Precinct 4, including the construction of the first children's park on Capital Hill, which was inaugurated last month.

He has also contributed to countless beautification projects in Precinct 4, including the painting of murals and the improvement of signs in public spaces.

As chair of the House Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations,  Camacho and committee members have reviewed several pieces of legislation.

"I've been very proactive in moving legislation through, getting them out, supporting and co-authoring other legislation that had been referred to [the committee]," he said, adding that another committee meeting is due to take place in the coming days.

Should he be reelected, Camacho said he intends to help tackle the issue of non-communicable diseases in the CNMI.

He said he will take a multi-faceted approach against NCDs by promoting physical activity in the community.

In addition, he intends to implement and enhance infrastructure projects that will promote physical activity, such as fully connecting all sidewalks in Precinct 4.

"I want to tackle this NCD issue and get the numbers down," he said, placing emphasis on keeping the youth physically active through sports and other recreational activities.

Two-party system

Deleon Guerrero and Camacho also shared their thoughts on the two-party system in the CNMI, in light of the revival of the local Democratic Party.

"It's about time that we have the two parties for this coming election," said Deleon Guerrero, adding that he hopes that write-in candidates will, at some point, be allowed, too.

"I believe it's a democracy [when the] two-party system can work well in our Commonwealth," he added.

For his part Camacho said, "I actually think it's outstanding. It's awesome now that we have a two-party system back.

"We do live in a democracy. The more candidates, the better… I welcome any party… It gives our community more viable options," he added.

He noted that he and Rep. Sheila Babauta, who is running for reelection as a Democrat, are two of the youngest lawmakers to represent Precinct 4.

"The great thing about it is it pushes us as candidates to absolutely pedal to the metal, do our best and showcase what we can do for the community. The pressure is on us to show what we're made of and what we can do to give back to our community," he said.

Also running for a seat to represent Precinct 4 in the House is Democratic candidate Jenita Castro.

Running against Vice Speaker Deleon Guerrero and former Rep. Ramon S. Basa in Precinct 5 are  Independent candidate Joseph Mendiola and Democrats Rep. Richard Lizama and Leila Staffler.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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