Four Vie for CNMI Delegate Seat Today

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Guam – All is set for today’s congressional election in the CNMI, with 16,576 registered voters eligible to cast their ballots on Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the Northern Islands.

Voters have four candidates to choose from—former lieutenant governor Jesse Borja of the Democratic Party, former House floor leader Joseph N. Camacho of the Covenant Party, former governor Juan N. Babauta, and incumbent Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan, who is once again running independent.

Sablan, the CNMI’s first non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, said if elected he will continue to focus on education, health, and other policy issues affecting the CNMI. He also promised to improve the CNMI’s working relationship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Babauta, who served as the CNMI’s resident representative to Washington, D.C. for 12 years before becoming governor, said when elected, he would try to bring together all key CNMI policy makers to help solve the islands’ woes.

Borja, a former Supreme Court associate justice, said his experience in the executive and judicial branches of government and his deep knowledge of the Covenant between the U.S. and the Northern Marianas give him an edge over the three other candidates in the delegate race.

Camacho, meanwhile, said if he wins he will make sure U.S. citizens in the CNMI have jobs and do not compete with nonresident workers.

The CNMI was granted a non-voting delegate seat in the U.S. Congress only in May 2008. Before this, the CNMI only had a non-voting Washington representative, a position that was not officially a part of Congress.