Editor’s Note: The following is the statement issued by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on the passing of former governor Pedro “Teno” Pangelinan Tenorio, who was interred yesterday.
Diann, my family, and I join the Commonwealth in mourning the passing of Honorable Pedro “Teno” Pangelinan Tenorio. Our prayers are with his wife Sophie, his children, his family, and everyone who has had the privilege to meet and experience the passion this statesman had for our people and our islands.
Governor Teno was a true statesman in every sense of the word. His commitment to our islands and our people was evident even before this Commonwealth was even created. He was a former member of the Congress of Micronesia during the Trust Territory days. Later, he served our Commonwealth in the 1st Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature as a senator and eventually became president of the Senate in the 2nd Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature. He became our second governor from 1982 to 1990, and made history in 1998 by being elected a third time by our people.
His leadership qualities represented the people he served as he worked tirelessly to provide a strong foundation for our young Commonwealth. Heading into the new millennium, he addressed the government’s dismal financial condition, reduced the deficit, and generated surpluses during his third term as governor. He oversaw the largest number of visitor arrivals to our islands and the peak of our Japanese tourism market. He improved our relationship with the federal government by seeking cooperation to help fix the Commonwealth’s labor and immigration. He also advocated for increased federal grant money to improve our islands’ infrastructure for the future, and it is represented everyday when we walk into the Governor Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center, a structure named in honor of him.
But it was not just his service to the Commonwealth that made him special. It was his unquestioned love and passion for the Northern Mariana Islands and its people that made him memorable. There were certain qualities about him that one could not find in many people, and governor Teno had that and more.
Diann and I visited governor Teno just before his passing, and we are very saddened by a big loss for our islands. But we are very thankful for all the work he has done for the Commonwealth. I sincerely thank him for all his dedication at the very beginning of our Commonwealth, and we continue to support programs he began. He will not be forgotten.
This Commonwealth will forever remember one of its most devoted public servants as a man, whose dedication, intelligence, and integrity provided a foundation for our islands’ future progress.
Governor Pedro “Teno” Pangelinan Tenorio has gone home now to his eternal home in the loving arms of our dear Lord. He leaves us with the memories he gave us, the great deeds that he did, and the impact he had on every single person who ever met him. But most importantly, he left us a foundation for governance and service so that we can work toward creating a better life for the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Our islands will miss him dearly.
Ralph DLG Torres is governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.