Grace “Pitu” Sablan Vaiagae filed her candidacy under the CNMI Republican Party’s banner before the Commonwealth Election Commission in Susupe yesterday afternoon for the special election being held to fill the Precinct 3 seat that became vacant after her brother-in-law, former representative Ivan Alafanso Blanco, passed away last July.
“I just want to serve the constituents of Precinct. 3. I’m just here to serve,” said the 44-year-old Vaiagae in an interview.
Vaiagae was accompanied by her sister, Carmen Blanco, and other family members, friends, and supporters when she filed her nominating petition and candidacy documents. Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, some Cabinet members, and GOP officials and members came to support her.
When asked why people should vote for her, Vaiagae said she is an indigenous person from Saipan, born and raised here, and has a solid history of community service and a great background in her interactions with people as a counselor. She said has worked with different agencies, even with law enforcement, and is experienced in working with people who are marginalized or underserved.
“I’ve been out there and exposed to…some of the social issues and concerns that may be impacting our elderly, the man’amko, the youth, our children, and persons in recovery,” she said.
Vaiagae said that when went off island to be educated and be in her field of expertise, she saw there were so many things happening on island that she could help with after she came back.
She said she was away from the CNMI for more than 10 years and she came back, thinking of wanting to serve the people.
“So coming back…I saw what my island needed. And I want to serve and I’ve been doing that since 2004,” she said.
Vaiagae said she wants to take the next step because she has been out there interacting and serving people. She wants now to introduce legislations, work with lawmakers, work with the Legislature, and work with the government so that they can impact the community in a way where its from a mother’s point of view, from a sister’s point of view, from a clinician’s point of view.
“It’s coming from someone who has been away from home for a while and came back and…wanting to see a better development for the island,” she said.
Vaiagae is currently an independent contractor who provides consultation services and develops programs for non-profit organizations for substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
She obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Guam. She then pursued her master’s degree while working as a therapist.
Torres said it is a great honor to have Vaiagae under the GOP banner. He said he knows that their candidate will bring good assistance, not just to Precinct 3 but also to the entire CNMI.
The governor said that, with her background, Vaiagae definitely cares for the community.
He said she shared that she wants to be very proactive on road and other community projects.
“So we’re very excited…I ask the whole community, our people from Precinct 3, everyone in the CNMI or those that have families in Precinct 3 to give Grace the opportunity and the blessing to represent the people of Precinct 3 as well as the CNMI,” Torres said.
Former Commonwealth Utilities Corp. budget officer Corina L. Magofna is going to file her candidacy under the NMI Democratic Party today, Friday, at 2pm.