Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) knows he has big shoes to fill as the new chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, the tax writing committee of the CNMI House of Representatives that has jurisdiction over all revenue-generating bills.
Former representative Antonio P. Sablan is the former Ways and Means chairman, introducing funding bills and other related measures in the last legislature. He is now the Legislative Bureau director.
Demapan said he is thankful for having the chance to sit beside Sablan in the 19th Legislature and for being a member of the committee that the veteran lawmaker headed. “The seating arrangement in the 19th had me sitting beside [Sablan] and it was a privilege for me,” said Demapan. “I learned a lot from him regarding the budget process and other things related to funding after being a member of his committee. I really have very big shoes to fill.”
Demapan vowed to follow what he had learned from Sablan and continue the work that he has done in the Legislature. “It is my intention to continue the great work of my predecessor, former Ways and Means chair Tony [Sablan]. He has worked tirelessly to ensure the timely passage of the annual budget bill for two straight years.
“[And] I will be sure to reach out to my Senate counterpart in the coming days to discuss ideas and best practices in preparation for next fiscal year’s budget process,” Demapan added.
Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) is the chairman of the Fiscal Affairs Committee, the Ways and Means’ counterpart, in the Senate.
Demapan said his priority in the 20th Legislature is to make sure that government finances would remain transparent.
“It becomes more imperative for us to ensure that government funds are spent prudently and justly while we continue to appreciate the upward trend of government revenues,” added Demapan, who first ran for a House seat in the 19th Legislature.
He would also meet with Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson, special assistant for management and budget Virginia Villagomez, and other key administration officials to discuss the Commonwealth’s financial status.
“Over the past two years, I focused my energy on upholding the terms of our Covenant, standing up against federal overreach, advocating for competitive wages, pushing for increased benefits for veterans, and safeguarding the hard-earned pension of our retirees,” said Demapan.
“I will certainly continue to stay on top of these critical issues over the next two years. We must continue to believe in the economic future of our Commonwealth as we set our sights to a more robust outlook.”
He thanked the people of Saipan’s Precinct 1 for the chance to serve them again. “As we begin a new chapter in our Commonwealth’s history, my family and I are truly humbled by this privilege to serve a second term as a member of the 20th House of Representatives. We are sincerely grateful for the confidence of our supporters, family, friends and the campaign committee.”