Gov. Eloy S. Inos marked his 64th birthday yesterday with a public wish to “move forward” and to “prevail in 2014” as he and Senate President Ralph Torres (R-Saipan) officially announced their plan to run for governor and lieutenant governor under the now fortified Republican Party of the NMI Association.
Their 5pm news briefing came a day after the Republican Party accepted and endorsed the Inos-Torres tandem for the November 2014 race.
Inos announced that his and Torres’ priorities include addressing the NMI Retirement Fund, utilities, and the hospital.
“No, we’re not out to promise many things or we’re not out to promise everything under the sun but we pledge that we will work together and address those three issues with the underlying economic growth that’s needed to make these things happen,” Inos said.
Inos’ and Torres’ families and Cabinet members stood by them as they made the announcement prior to the start of the governor’s birthday fundraiser that drew hundreds of people at the Fiesta Resort & Spa in Garapan.
“We will do our best. Some people said it is still early. I don’t think so. I don’t know why it’s still early. People are already suffering so we need to go in and do something about it,” the governor said.
Inos gave a background on how things culminated in yesterday’s announcement, starting with his goal of helping people and reunifying different political parties.
“I believe that we’ve done so many things but there’s still a lot more to do. So in that spirit, I’ve asked my colleagues in the Covenant Party, as well as other friends in the other parties as to their opinion of how to deal with this situation given that it is a wide field for gubernatorial candidates as well as for lieutenant governors’ slots so I felt that the best way to achieve this would be to find a synergy among the parties and among the people interested in helping the community,” he said.
Inos became governor on Feb. 20 after former governor Benigno R. Fitial resigned days before the start of his impeachment trial at the Senate. Inos is seeking a full four-year term as governor.
After consulting his own Covenant Party that is in the process of being dissolved, consulting the Republican Party which he rejoined, and consulting with Torres, Inos said they both came to the conclusion “that it’s best that we put our groups together for the common good and to move the CNMI forward to address many of the challenges.”
Torres, for his part, said, “Working together harmoniously is best for the people of the CNMI.”
“We’ve put our political differences aside and I think the people of the CNMI have seen that. With the unity now, with the Republican Party and with your Cabinet members, the Senate and the House, this is what our people have been waiting for, to put political differences aside and address those issues together,” the Senate president said.
Inos also said the GOP is in “active discussions with the principals” of the Independent Republicans.
“In fact, I saw one of the major principals this afternoon, talked about this effort quite intensively and so what I can say is we’re still working, there’s possibility that they will come over and will join forces. We hope to see that in the very near future so we are continuing this dialogue and so forth,” Inos said.
He was referring to IR chair Sen. Pete Reyes (Ind-Saipan).
The IR vice chair, former lieutenant governor Diego Benavente, is not confirming nor denying that he is being wooed by the camp of gubernatorial aspirant Heinz Hofschneider, who plans to run as an independent. Some IR members also said that, as of their Wednesday night meeting, the IR will remain as a group.
Toward the end of the news briefing, Inos’ response to a question was: “My birthday wish is that we will move forward and that we will prevail in 2014.”