Whichever way you fall on the political spectrum, it cannot be denied that former governor Juan N. Babauta occupies a unique role in CNMI history, spending a large part of his life on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and on Capital Hill on Saipan.
He shares that unique perspective with the public in his book, In Retrospect, written from the point of view of the former governor who recounts his life as a youth from Tanapag up to the time he served as the islands’ chief executive and after.
Babauta said his book is “a review of the background, public service, and analysis of important and critical NMI issues documented and narrated by the sixth governor of the CNMI.”
“It is a piece of NMI history that would be of interest to our students, people, and generations to come,” he said.
Born on Sept. 7, 1953, the 63-year-old former governor spent more than a year and a half working on the book, two to three hours at a time, most of which he spent on research.
“All my notes were handwritten before typing them up on my laptop. I had someone review and edit my manuscript and another to format the final draft for printing,” said Babauta.
Across the book’s 226 pages, Babauta touches on several topics such as local and federal issues, as seen through his past experiences as a CNMI senator, CNMI representative to the U.S., and CNMI governor. He also does not hesitate to discuss controversies, touching on topics such as federal policy toward the territories, the garment industry, the fiscal posture of the CNMI government, and tax policy.
Babauta said he wishes to reach out to those who are interested in the recent history of the CNMI.
“I wish to give them a certain appreciation of a period of time in NMI history and how one person perceived that period, so I tried to capture that moment and write about a number of issues regarding our relationship with the federal government and certain laws imposed upon us by virtue of being a part of the U.S.,” he said.
Babauta hopes readers get an understanding of “what went on” during his time and that an understanding of the events that took place was his “paramount concern” in writing the book.
When asked about his main perspective in writing the book, Babauta said it is about educating readers that the best advocate for the CNMI is someone from the CNMI, who is aware of local issues, who knows what is going on in the islands.
Born and raised in Tanapag before moving to Vermont at the age of 14, Babauta holds a master’s degree in health planning and administration from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in political science and American history from the Eastern New Mexico University.
In Retrospect may be purchased by contacting Charlene Babauta through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her mobile at 989-6249. In Retrospect may also be bought at Bestseller. The book costs $23.95.
Babauta would be holding a book signing at the Joeten Kiyu Public Library on April 12, from 3pm to 5pm.