The governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address was truly centered on the American Dream. The American Dream is something that immigrants and Americans live and even die for every day. The challenge since the signing of the Covenant has been to set the conditions in the CNMI for the American Dream to be accessible for all living in the CNMI.
Torres is a “Dreamer” and he made it known in his SOCA—thank God, kudos, and thanks governor. I have witnessed many SOCAs by several governors and one governor who adamantly opposed our relationship in the American family which is why I must say Torres has surpassed some of his predecessors in setting the right course for our Commonwealth’s quest for the American Dream.
Torres is truly at the forefront of change in the CNMI and he is leading instead of reacting which can make all the difference in finding prosperity for the people and the CNMI. He has truly demonstrated his capacity for leadership in many ways but what impressed me the most was the fact that he has clearly established a genuine working relationship with our President and the White House which is something I don’t think any previous Governor has accomplished at such a high level. The governor’s working relationship with the President is a true sign of leadership with a big plus or star for his administration and for the CNMI—a relationship he said he intends to use to help his people.
It was clear to me that the governor fully realizes there are many youth who can pursue their American Dream in the CNMI and that some have to leave for college and other opportunities that are not offered here which is also being reflected in the ideology of our new Education Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero who is off to a great start. The governor has made it clear that his administration will be working to help our youth, our education institutions and the people of our Commonwealth in attaining the needs and goals related to our future workforce which must include the CW workforce. He was right when he said “if we put every local in a job it will still not be enough to fill all the jobs we need to have a thriving economy”—so we must accept the facts and learn to live with and fight for the CW work force. Speaking of fighting, even though the governor is aspiring the American Dream for us he fully realizes and is willing to fight the federal government on issues that are not in the best interest of the CNMI and I’m sure his good relationship with the President will prove be pivotal in our favor on many issues. Being a black man who grew up fighting in the Civil Rights Movement I know you have to fight “our fathers in Washington” in the right battles to make the feds get it right.
The governor recognizes our need to grow in order to address the many challenges we face in helping all citizens, not just locals because “we will all find prosperity together or continue to flounder in despair.” (Ambrose M. Bennett, 2001)
The governor made it clear that we need everyone to be part of the solution. He also mentioned how NMC is just not providing the labor pool of nurses that is needed and we saw this coming years ago or at least I saw it coming years ago but no one listened to me back then, maybe now time has changed the powers-that-be. So here is a possible solution again, why not start and “Educational Exchange Program” with the Philippine government to train nurses since they are so successful in turning out nurses given most of the nurses at CHC comes from the Philippines. We need to be building relationships by collaborating and working with the government of the Philippines instead of a “one-way” arrangement to import CW labor—a win-win-win scenario.
Ambrose M. Bennett