Members of a newly formed “special commission on economic opportunity” would be “non-compensated” volunteers, according to acting governor Ralph DLG Torres, who initiated the project.
“Commission members serve in a voluntary capacity, dedicating considerable time and energy to this effort. Each member invited to this commission represents a strong commitment to increasing economic opportunity and alleviating poverty [in the Commonwealth],” he added.
Torres said the commission would facilitate public forums to hear directly from people living in poverty about their experiences, observations, and suggestions. These meetings will also address the concerns of those who have any questions regarding the commission’s progress and policy work.
“This type of collaboration between the public and private sector is very important to us. We want to hear from everyone who has a concern or a desire to help make our community more prosperous. Tackling poverty requires more than just the government,” Torres said in a statement.
The commission has scheduled its first session on Nov. 12 from 9am to 11am at the Office of the Governor’s conference room on Capital Hill
An invitation to non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, and local businesses to join discussions on poverty was sent last week.
Torres, in his statement, said the first meeting would be the community’s opportunity to gain contextual understanding of the various governmental programs that provide assistance to low-income households.
It will also “begin discussions as to how these services can be improved to meet the goals of this collaborative vision for the CNMI.”
“As part of this commitment to improving lives of our community, I am inviting you to participate in this multifaceted network of coalitions, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies chaired by my office to assist in addressing this persistent and growing problem,” Torres said in his invitation letter.
The commission sees the inaugural session as a first in a series of discussions aimed at addressing the various needs of the community. Ensuing meetings are planned to involve discussions on criminal justice reforms, health care transformation, and how the government can assist community organizations in the CNMI.