Retired lt. colonel: ‘Save NMI from Republicans’

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THE keynote speaker in the NMI Democratic Party’s general membership meeting on Saturday, retired Lt. Col. Lawrence F. Camacho called on the local Democrats to “save the Commonwealth from negligent Republicans.”

Retired Lt. Col. Lawrence F. Camacho, left, poses with NMI Democratic Party vice chairman Daniel O. Quitugua at party’s general membership meeting in Grandvrio Fiesta Hall on Saturday.  Photo by Nola Hix

Born on Saipan, Camacho is the dean of Enrollment Management and Student Success at the University of Guam and executive director for UOG’s AmeriCorps Volunteer Center.

He served the U.S. Army for over 21 years, was chair and professor of military science and leadership at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and assistant professor of military science at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In his keynote address, Camacho said for over 20 years now, “one party in particular has controlled the system.” Because “of the corruption and malpractice that the Republican Party has and continues to demonstrate, we know that we, the Democratic Party, are at a special place, both in space and time.”

The current issues involving Republican Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and his administration should provide the local Democrats with a “grand opportunity to promote and advance our Democratic Party principles that we believe is best for our Commonwealth.”

He added, “Shame on us if we do not leverage…the current sad state of affairs that the Republican Party has already plagued the CNMI with.”

Camacho said the people “have given the Republican Party more than enough chances. Our people have entrusted the Republicans with more than enough years to make a difference in the lives of our people, and yet we, the ordinary people, always get the debauched end of the bargain.”

He said, “While some of the elite in the Republican Party are living large, the rest of us are at risk of losing our beautiful paradise. Instead of giving hope, they took that away as well. We all know that the NMI Republican Party is completely oblivious to the calculated and negatively impactful consequences of their actions. To be blunt…ladies and gentlemen, they are recklessly selling our Commonwealth, and with violations of ethical standards, mind you. I have been outspoken about this and I’ll try not to dwell on all of the many issues right this very moment.”

Camacho urged the NMI Democrats to “act now and with diligence — craft the best possible stratagem to win in this midterm election and in the 2022 gubernatorial election.”

He said his “simple and humble assessment of the direction [of] our Commonwealth is that there is no clear vision because we lack leadership. There is a long list of transgressions, but these challenges can be turned into opportunities—we just need a good handle [on] our government’s role in our economic ecosystem.”

He said there is also a “need for [a] solid strategic plan for our education and healthcare systems, to include other sustainable industries, like farming and fishing. What about a study on how to reduce the cost of electricity? Fix that, and businesses will thrive, not to mention disposable income for our people. Here’s an idea, why can’t we tie in environmental sustainability initiatives with an overarching Commonwealth-wide long-term strategy, and get federal funding along the way? And oh, by the way, please include Tinian and Rota in every one of those planning opportunities because I guarantee you that they have excellent ideas on how to promote their islands.”

Camacho said he has been “very disappointed” with the way the Republicans have governed the Commonwealth.

He is counting on the Democratic Party “to transform our Commonwealth so that our children and their grandchildren would continue to enjoy life in our islands.”

He said, “If we do not do something about this today, the Republican Party will continue to sell our Commonwealth and 50 years from now, none of us will own any piece of this paradise — we may pretend we do, but I am afraid that outside influences have already started to creep in, plaguing our communities.”

Camacho said the NMI Democrats’ task is to “win the coming elections so we can recalibrate both our public and private sectors to safeguard benefits, and our grassroots…. Again, our vision should be simple: Improve lives and restore hope.”

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