Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) filed yesterday his candidacy to seek an unprecedented seventh term as the CNMI’s delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives for this Nov. 3 general elections.
The 65-year-old Sablan may likely run unopposed at this year’s midterm elections, which is now called general elections by the Commonwealth Election Commission. First elected in 2008, he became the first delegate to the U.S. from the CNMI.
The delegate is the top seat for the coming election. Sablan handily defeated then-representative Angel Demapan of the Republican Party at the November 2018 elections.
Sablan submitted his candidacy documents before CEC executive director Julita A. Villagomez yesterday morning. He was accompanied by his wife, Andrea, mother Victorina C. Sablan, businessman Juan S. Tenorio, former governor Dr. Carlos S. Camacho, Kilili for Congress chair Dr. Galvin S. Guerrero, and some family members and supporters.
Sablan said the CNMI is in the middle of a deep crisis—trying to keep safe from the coronavirus and, at the same time, rebuilding and reopening the economy. He believes he can help by making sure the Marianas receives every possible form of aid from the federal government to stay healthy and get back to work.
Noting that he has a responsibility, Sablan said the people entrusted him with 12 years in Congress, learning how to get what the Marianas needs. “How could I walk away now, when my experience is needed more than ever? It would be wrong to do that.”
Although he was re-elected as an independent in 2014, 2016, and 2018 elections, Sablan caucuses with the Democrats in Congress.
He said that, just as he has done in the past, he looks forward to working with and supporting candidates who have the best interest of the people and the communities first.
“What people care about is making sure they can take care of their family, our children are educated, and we preserve our island home,” he said, adding that those are his priorities in Congress.
Sablan is chairman of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for schools nationwide and vice chairman for Insular Affairs.
When asked about his health, Sablan said he recently lost his friend and colleague, Mike Tenorio, who was younger than he is, so it was a “wake-up call.” He has quit smoking and is working to eat more healthy foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables that the islands produce in abundance. Sablan said his wife, Andrea, have started gardening to grow the healthy vegetables and fruits. He said his mother is three months away from her 90th birthday, so he prays he is blessed with the same good genes.
“But every day I remind myself that life is a gift from God, and we are expected to use our lives to do as much good as we can. For ourselves, for our family, for the people we serve,” he said.