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Thursday, April 17, 2014

An open letter all incoming legislators

Anthony Pellegrino

Congratulations to all of you for being elected to political office. Today begins a new period of your leadership. You have worked hard and deserve the position you have won. For the next two years you will deciding the future and fortune of our islands by the decisions you make. You possess awesome powers to improve our community and our lives. Your decisions will impact on us hopefully in a positive manner. Remember we have placed our trust and faith in you to lead us.

Please remember that being a lawmaker is a duty, not a job. As a good soldier pledges his duty to defend his country, you must pledge your duty to the same way. As mentioned above, we have chosen you because we believe and trust in you. Of all the virtues, trust is one of the most important. To betray trust bestowed upon you is one of the most heinous crimes you can commit against us, your constituents. What type of person is a man or woman without trust?

You are the catalyst and hope for leading us back to prosperity. But before you can do that you must realize exactly what your functions at the Legislature are and how powerful you are.

Please cut out the following pledge and place it squarely in the middle of your desk and glance at it daily:

“By the trust given to me, I pledge to honestly represent the people of the CNMI. My duty is to help my people. I pledge this honor above all else. I shall seek only what is good for the general public. I will never sacrifice my duty for personal gain, so help me God!”

Basically the way I understand your function is that you the Legislature decides what kind of community we will have. Everything starts with you. Bills having to do with money, taxes, conduct affecting us citizens, appointments to government agencies, education, businesses, budget expenditures—bills for everything. When these bills become law they dictate our course of action and conduct. It all starts with you, ladies and gentlemen.

The administration then implements and enforces the laws that you create. It does not create laws. It only carries then out. Remember you also have the power to override any veto by the governor when he refuses to sign one of your bills.

At times it amazes me when you esteemed ladies and gentlemen forget, or do not fully grasp, this basic concept. Your decisions and attitudes set the tone for all of us citizens. You are the backbone for economic development because you decide what types and to what extent businesses can be conducted in the CNMI. Again, you—the Legislature—possess tremendous power over the islands and over our lives.

Please strive for a unified cooperation among all of your members. That doesn’t mean that you have to automatically approve everything. But after debating the matter you must come to a consensus. We all understand that, without a unified goal, the community will not benefit. I strongly encourage you to stand tall and be proud that you have been elected to lead. Let us feel your strength and let us profit from your wisdom. Being a lawmaker is a duty, not a job.

As a member of the Legislature, please seek and encourage potential investors to invest in our islands. But equally important is that you encourage our citizens to become businesspeople. You must encourage us to explore the opportunities within our islands. Encouragement coming from you means so much because we look up to you.

Please motivate the local farmers to improve and increase their crop production. Please encourage our youth to learn a trade or profession. You must motivate all of us to reach out and make our dreams come true. Feel the pain of despair that so many of our people feel. Try to get us off food stamps and encourage us to learn a trade or profession.

By your sincerity and commitment to our Commonwealth, we can once again rise like the legendary phoenix does from its own ashes. By being determined and acting in a unified manner and with your fine examples, we can overcome insurmountable obstacles.

May God grant you the courage to do the right thing. May He also grant you the wisdom to know what you can and cannot do. May He grant you the determination to lead us bravely at any cost.

Again please live by the motto: “I have been elected to lead! Duty to my country comes first!”

Keep in mind that when you finally leave office, what do you wish to be remembered for? What legacy will you leave us? A wise man once said: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. But what we do for others lives on forever.”

Daily we live and hope for a better future with our faith and trust in you. Do not forsake us. Lead and we shall follow! Again, congratulations on being elected our representative. May God bless you all!

All Your Concerned Constituents

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