“On Oct. 14, 2022, I humbly asked for the attendance of both legislative chambers to join me on Oct. 21, 2022 as I share the story of the resilience of our islands and its people during the 2022 State of the Commonwealth Address.
“Subsequently, on Oct. 19, 2022, I submitted a formal request to the presiding officers of the Legislature to convene in a joint legislative session to receive the SOCA in response to the interest of the Legislature to host this year’s address before a joint session as publicly conveyed, and in the spirit of cooperation. I also informed the presiding officers that my office has confirmed the use of Kensington Hall to deliver the SOCA before the joint chambers on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at 10am,” said Torres.
“While I was hoping to deliver the SOCA before a joint session on the Oct. 31 rescheduled date, it is apparent that it will not be the case as a result of the impasse between both chambers as to the desired date for the joint session.
“I wish to reiterate that the goal of the SOCA event is to provide the public an opportunity to hear from its government, the challenges we have faced, and the progress we have made as a community. I consider this opportunity, following years of disasters that have impeded prior addresses from occurring, a critical element of ensuring the public is aware of the actions and decisions of its government.
“Moreover, I regard my delivery of the SOCA to be a means of delivering transparency not just to the other branches of our government, but to the people we are called to serve. It is unfortunate that the House, once again, has decided to cry foul and accused my administration as politicizing the SOCA as a means to advance my re-election bid. Such accusation is far from the truth. Our recovery efforts from the disasters and the pandemic are evident with the progress that we have achieved thus far. Although some may not want to acknowledge the successes of our community in overcoming our most challenging times, I will continue advancing efforts toward economic recovery and growth to improve the quality of life for all.
“I stand by my legal counsel’s advice that the delivery of the SOCA event before a joint session is only a traditional practice and not a constitutional mandate. However, although it is my desire to proceed forward with the SOCA on Oct. 31, I am postponing the event in the interest of harmonizing the sentiment of our community that resulted from the chaos the House leadership created surrounding this matter.
“I look forward to sharing in the immediate future the successes of our community and the Commonwealth we are working to build where each and every member of our community play a vital role in making the Marianas one of the best places to live and visit.”
Editor’s Note: There was no immediate word on a specific new date for Torres’ SOCA.
The last SOCA
Torres delivered his last SOCA on Aug. 24, 2018. Seventeen days later, Typhoon Mangkut made landfall on Rota on Sept. 10, 2018, devastating the island community. On Oct. 24, 2018, 45 days thereafter, Saipan and Tinian experienced the wrath of Super Typhoon Yutu, the earth’s strongest storm in 2018 and the most powerful typhoon ever to hit the islands. Along the road to recovery from both Typhoon Mangkut and Super Typhoon Yutu, the Commonwealth and jurisdictions across the entire world were ravaged by the COVID-19 virus. (PR)