House pays tribute to Ogumoro for 50 yrs. of service
The House of Representatives has presented a House resolution paying tribute and commending ex-lawmaker Felicidad Leiwamal Taman Ogumoro, who in 1978 became the first female of Carolinian heritage to be elected to the House, for more than 50 years of distinguished service to the people of the Commonwealth.
Authored by Rep. Denita Kaipat Yangetmai (D-Saipan) and co-sponsored by other House members, House Resolution 22-10 was adopted and subsequently presented to Ogumoro during a House session last week. Ogumoro’s family members received the resolution on her behalf as she has underlying medical conditions.
In a recorded message played in the House’s chamber, Ogumoro said she is humbled by the resolution and said that when she first returned to serve in the Legislature after a 30-year absence, her mission was two-pronged: to safeguard the right of the CNMI to govern itself and to work to improve people’s quality of life.
“Collectively, we, as a people, know what’s best for us. If we made mistakes along the way, we can and we must learn from them,” she said.
Ogumoro said the CNMI’s people were doing it before World War II, before the Germans came, and even before the Spanish landed on the CNMI’s shores.
“No one cares more for our community, our people, our man’amko (elderly), and our children than ourselves,” she added.
Ogumoro said that as then-representative, she worked with her colleagues toward strengthening the basic infrastructure and helping to ensure that all people had access to the basics—adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care—with a focus on addressing poverty in the community.
She asked legislators to continue to do all they can to allow the small island nation become a strong and sustainable Commonwealth, where the right to control the resources and destiny continues to remain in the hands of the people of these islands, and where an improved quality of life is enjoyed by everyone who reside here.
According to the resolution, Ogumoro “has been a committed and dedicated public servant, and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of women and families not only in Precinct 3 on Saipan, whom she represented so well, but also the lives of women and families all across the CNMI.”
Ogumoro has served in the government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the private sector and local government for over 50 years. In 1968, Ogumoro graduated valedictorian from Mount Carmel High School.
She attended Saint Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kansas, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Sociology in 1973. Ogumoro returned home to serve as the Training and Development specialist of the Division of Training and Development, Department of Personnel during the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1973 to 1977.
Ogumoro was a member of the United Carolinians Association (1973-1980); president of the Saipan Women’s Association (1975-1976), and a member of the Saipan Municipal Scholarship Board (1976-1977).
In 1978, she was elected to the House of the first CNMI Legislature representing Precinct 5. In 1980, she was elected to serve her second term in the House.
During her tenure in the House, Ogumoro was the author of Public Law 2-19, which established the Division of Youth Services; was a staunch supporter of Executive Order 25, which established the Northern Marianas College; and was a member of the Policy Committee for the new Commonwealth Health Center.
In 1982, she ventured into the private sector and held various program and management positions.
In 1985, she was elected delegate to the 2nd Constitutional Convention. She was the author of Constitutional Amendment 21, establishing the Office of Special Assistant for Women’s Affairs; Constitutional Amendment 38, making the Northern Marianas College autonomous and guaranteeing it 1% funding; and Constitutional Amendment 38, making the Public School System autonomous and guaranteeing it 15% funding.
She was again elected representative of Precinct 3 in 2010 and became a member of the House in the 17th, 18th, and 19th legislatures. She became the first female vice speaker during her term in the 17th Legislature.
During her seven-year tenure as a House representative, Ogumoro was author of many public laws and resolutions that include, among others, Public Law 17-040, establishing Northern Marianas Decent Registry; House Bill 18-034, designed to generate revenue for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.; and House Legislative 18-001 amending Article 12 decreasing minimum blood quantum requirement.
Recently completed four years serving as the program administrator for the CNMI Women’s Association (2017 -2021), and three years as first vice president of the NMI Republican Party.