Citing that the House of Representatives for the first time appears to be evenly split, Rep. Christina-Marie Elise Sablan (D-Saipan) said Monday last week that the 22nd Legislature could be the most productive and collaborative legislature the Commonwealth has ever seen or it could be the most gridlocked.
In her speech during the inauguration of 22nd Legislature, Sablan said they could seek out creative and bipartisan ways to solve pressing problems.
“Or not, and the problems will remain,” she said, adding that it’s really up to the lawmakers.
“It’s helpful to always bear in our hearts and minds the reasons we ran for public office in the first place, the reasons we wanted to serve. What are the values that drive us? What do we have in common? Let’s start there,” Sablan said.
She noted that the House has a diverse assembly of seasoned educators, decorated veterans and military families, business and finance professionals, experienced public servants, passionate community advocates, and more.
Sablan said there are more women elected to the House than at any other time in CNMI’s history.
Aside from Sablan, the other female representatives are Reps. Sheila Therese Jack Babauta (D-Saipan), Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan), Denita Kaipat Yangetmai (D-Saipan), and Leila Haveia Fleming Clark Staffler (D-Saipan).
For the first time in decades, Sablan said, there is a robust two-party system and well that is reflected in the House’s composition.
“We may disagree on the details. We may offer different strategies to get to the same goal. But we can share a common vision, and use our differences to challenge each other and refine or ideas. That’s the beauty of democracy,” she said.