Former House speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero was recently appointed as secretary of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, succeeding Robert Hunter, who is now senior policy adviser for the Office of the Governor.
Prior to this new position, Deleon Guerrero served as special adviser for cannabis under the Office of the Governor, where he helped lay the foundation for the CNMI Cannabis Commission. From 2002 to 2019, he served as a representative from the 13th through the 20th Legislature, where he most served as speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th and 19th Legislatures. From 1994 to 2001, he served as historic preservation officer for the Historic Preservation Office under DCCA.
A veteran and former U.S. Army combat medical specialist, Deleon Guerrero is no stranger to DCCA, having worked at HPO for 15 years before becoming an elected congressman for Precinct 1.
“Former speaker Deleon Guerrero brings extensive public service experience, from his time at HPO to his time as a congressman for our people. Most especially, he has a love for cultural preservation and will work with our community and agencies to protect our cultural identity here in the Marianas. Lt. Gov. [Arnold I.] Palacios and I want to thank him for his willingness to continue to serve our community and business partners through DCCA’s role in the permitting process. We look forward to seeing him work collaboratively with our DCCA staff and to continue the progress the department has made. I thank former secretary Robert Hunter, who is now my senior policy [adviser] for his service and love for DCCA,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
Deleon Guerrero said his new appointment means a lot to him personally and professionally because he began government service in 1986 with the HPO under DCCA, where he worked until being elected in 2001. “Coming back to DCCA after 17 years in the Legislature feels like returning home, coming full circle to where it all began. It was those early years that formed my foundation about the importance and value of public service,” he said.
Deleon Guerrero’s professional experience includes his service as secretary for the Association of Pacific Islands Legislatures, chairman of the board of governors of the Pacific Islands Development Bank, member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Legislative Advisory Committee, president of the Micronesian Endowment for Historic Preservation, and as a member of the Coastal Resources Management Program board of directors.
Deleon Guerrero is also a former president and vice president of the Parent Teacher Student Association of Dandan Elementary School from 2002 to 2006, president of the CNMI Diabetes Coalition from 2004 to 2005, and roundtable commissioner of the CNMI Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America Program in 1989. (PR)