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OPINION | Dear voters of Precinct 5 and the CNMI

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MANY people have asked me, why did you decide to run for office? 

Why would you give up a secure position with good pay and benefits?  Why would you take a $20,000 pay cut?  Don't you think the kids need you still?  All of these are valid questions.  For any big decision, knowing WHY is really important to understand a person's motivations and values.  Let me tell you my WHYS.

I decided to run for office because I was compelled to act on my calling to public service.  People always say they wish they had good choices of who to vote for. Candidates who are not motivated by self-interest.  Candidates who will be prudent with our islands’ finances.  Candidates who have plans to improve the lives of the people who live in our communities. Candidates who can evaluate, analyze and synthesize information to be data driven decision makers. Candidates who have vision. I know, I am one of those candidates. 

This is why I run. 

Wherever I go, I hear people share the same things when we meet.  Whether it is at the PTSA or in an aisle at the store, or at the picnic table by the beach; people always share common sense ideas and expectations of our government.  Things like providing more access to services, such as coordinating islandwide trash collection or installing additional transfer stations to help alleviate illegal dumping.  People ask things like, why is it government officials don’t already regularly publish what public funds were spent on which public purposes.  This kind of transparency is the kind of internal control that compels fiscal responsibility. I got tired of hearing complaints and decided I wanted to be part of the solution.

This is why I run. 

I run, because for the last couple of years the  Public School System has been on austerity, getting cut after cut.  What is one more when everyone else is suffering?  I felt helpless, after 18 years of service in the system, with my principal colleagues and with my school teams. I felt indignation that my students were getting short changed because I recognize there is a disconnect.  Education is a service industry. Service industries require human resources.  The human resources of education are the teachers, support staff and administration that provide the structure and support which schools require in order to provide a top-notch education.  This affects all students, all teachers and all families that we serve.  Because I have experienced so many roles within the Public School System, I know I will bring a broader understanding of the needs of our schools to the decision-making table.  People who say the kids still need me, they are right.  They need leaders like me more than ever, to help get us back on track financially so that we can continue the great work being done at the schools which has made PSS the leaders in education in the Pacific. 

This is why I run.

I run because many people have said, You never know until you try. I want to try because I am a collaborator, a connector, a mediator, a diplomat. I am a creative, a thinker, a visionary, a planner. Most of all, am a doer.   I run because I believe I can help improve the lives of our people and our communities, like I have helped others navigate transitions in their life. A man I met while going house to house, he said, you never know until you try.

This is why I run.

HOPE

When I think about WHY I choose to run, I also think about WHY people will vote for me and all Democrats this election.   I have learned through my house to house visits these last few months that the reason voters will vote for me, and all Democrats this election is because they have HOPE for the future.

H — Voters want improved access to Healthcare. They often share during house-to-house, that the amount of money we invest towards medical referral, would do wonders if we instead invested it to improve the services at our hospital.  This would also in turn reduce the need for some medical referral in the long run, because people wouldn’t have to leave their homes and families for treatment.  Investing in our hospital would also add to the Medicaid requirements that help keep the system afloat today.  Legislatively, the Democrats recognize and commit to the urgency of prioritizing funding for the betterment and health of our people; for the short and long-term.  This is why voters will vote for Democrats this election.  

O — Voters want more Opportunities and access. They want opportunities to be engaged, opportunities to learn, opportunities to access skilled training, which would lead to opportunities of improved earning potential.   Democrats will support educational systems, from PSS to NMC to NMTI, because we know how critical it is to the overall economy and personal growth of our people. Democrats will support legislation to establish apprenticeship programs critical to the next steps of NMTI sustainability and viability.  Democrats will provide opportunities and access through community gardens, where people can engage in partnerships and learn to grow their own food; improving the community’s access to sustainable living practices which also affects their long term health. Democrats will support local small businesses through legislation to encourage startups which will help our local economy grow.   These are the reasons why voters will vote for Democrats this election.  

P —  Voters want their leaders to practice Partnership and Prudence.  Voters want to return to “Ina-Fámauleg yan Ina-Goflié.”  Working together, we explore and light up all there is, to see it clearly; so we can do what’s best for all.   What I hear from voters is how much they and the people around them want change. They say they support change with how leaders communicate and operate. Voters will choose Democrats because they pledge to support legislation that will establish rules that require all members to maintain records and publish quarterly reports of their expenditures.  Democrats will regularly report to the people and welcome their feedback.  And most importantly, Democrats will ensure that public funds are only spent on public purposes.  These are the reasons why voters will vote for democrats this election.  

E — Voters want their leaders to prioritize Education and exhibit Ethics. Every election, leaders tout education as their priority.  The difference is that voters will vote for me, because they have witnessed that I have been a champion for education for the last 18 years.  I am a lifelong learner and currently hold two degrees; a Bachelors of Liberal Arts and a Masters in Educational Leadership.  I continue to take courses to edify myself on topics that interest me.  I am a 2010 graduate of the CNMI Summer Pre-Law program, a 2019 Pacific Century Fellow and an avid participant and volunteer in NMI Humanities Council programs.  Voters will vote for me because my ethical record stands for itself.  I have been an administrator for the last 10 years and I have never had an EEO case.  My record of fairness and reputation of “service before self” are why voters will vote for me this election. Ask any of my former students or parents, they will tell you that I practice the following: "What you do for one, you must do for all.  All means all."

Voters will vote for Democrats this November because we are offering a diverse choice of quality candidates who possess a wide variety of degrees and professional experiences.  On the Democratic slate, we offer candidates who are former educators, military veterans, retirees, small business owners, accountants, money market finance experts, civil service and government service employees too. 

Most of all, CNMI voters will choose Democrats this November because ethics is central to the pledge this team has made to voters of the CNMI.  Ethics is central to the first part, all the way to last part of our pledge. 

"We believe that public office is a public trust.  We hold ourselves and our colleagues to the highest ethical standards and will abide faithfully by the oath of office and the CNMI Government Ethics code." 

Check out our Democratic Pledge to the People of the CNMI online at:

www.nmidems.org

or  http://bit.ly/NMIDemsPledgeFB  (on Facebook)

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