The Senate and the House of Representatives will hold a joint session tomorrow, Wednesday, to honor the public service and legacy of the late representative Ivan James Alafanso Blanco.
Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) called for the joint session at 10am in the House of Representatives chamber on Capital Hill.
Blanco, 45, passed away last July 23 of massive pulmonary embolism.
Hofschneider and Villagomez said the purpose of the session is to adopt Joint Resolution 22-02, titled “Commending the life and legacy of service of the Honorable Ivan James Alafanso Blanco, member of the 20th, 21st, and 22nd CNMI legislature and expressing its sympathies to his bereaved family.”
The resolution was offered by Reps. Joel C. Camacho, Celina R. Babauta, Edwin K. Propst, Christina E. Sablan, Edmund S. Villagomez, and Ralph N. Yumul, and Sens. Vinson F. Sablan and Hofschneider.
The lawmakers said the Legislature finds Blanco worthy of honor and recognition because of his many accomplishments and achievements as a private citizen and public official.
At the session, the Legislature will present a certified original copy of the resolution to Blanco’s widow, Carmen Sablan Blanco.
According to the resolution, Blanco was born on Saipan on Nov. 29, 1976, to Juan Diego Camacho Blanco and Rosalinda (Alin) Alafanso, and that he spent his life living on both Saipan and Chuuk.
Affectionately known as Jimbo, he received his college preparatory education from Xavier High School in Chuuk.
Upon graduating in 1994 with honors, he went to college at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Business Management.
Blanco began his professional career in 2007, working in the Federated States of Micronesia government as an auditor for the FSM National Public Auditors Office in Palikir, Pohnpei. In 2008, while in service to the FSM Government, Blanco enrolled in the inaugural cohort of the U.S. Interior Department’s Executive Leadership Development Program, graduating in 2009.
Blanco’s service to the CNMI government began in 2010 when he took the position of director of the Central Statistics Division of the CNMI Department of Commerce. He eventually served as deputy secretary of Commerce in 2012.
He then transferred to the Office of the Governor and served as grants manager for the Office of Grants Management from 2013 to 2015.
In 2014, he became a member of the inaugural cohort of the Marianas Chapter of the Pacific Century Fellows leadership program, graduating in January 2015.
From 2015 to 2017, Blanco served as special assistant for Communications and Protocol for the Office of the Governor.
He began his political career when he was elected to the 20th House of Representatives where he served as chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations, and a member of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures.
In 2018, he was re-elected into the 21st House where he served as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and also became APIL board of directors secretary.
In 2020, Blanco was re-elected into the 22nd House, and served as the House minority leader.
He authored and supported legislation supporting government efficiency, making the Commonwealth more environmentally friendly, improving the CNMI’s economic structure, and improving the quality of life for its citizens while also spearheading and contributing to numerous community projects.
In 2016, Blanco and his son Kideichi participated in the XII Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture as members of the CNMI seafaring delegation under the guidance of master navigator Cesario Sewralur, sailing a double hull canoe from Saipan to Guam and back.