Lee Pan wants to be next Saipan mayor


Joseph Lee Pan Tenorio Guerrero

Joseph Lee Pan Tenorio Guerrero (R-Saipan), who is now on his fourth term as a House representative for Precinct 1, wants to be the next Saipan mayor.

Guerrero confirmed with Saipan Tribune yesterday that he is indeed interested to run as Saipan mayor in the November 2022 general elections.

Guerrero, who has never been defeated in the race for the House of Representatives, said his primary reason for his run as mayor is to continue Mayor David M. Apatang’s legacy of community service on Saipan.

“I’ve seen him with his staff doing a tremendous cleanup of the island. I want to continue that legacy,” said the 62-year-old Guerrero during an interview at the San Vicente Park where he attended a youth proclamation signing.

Apatang, who is now on his second term as mayor, earlier said he no longer intends to run again. Each mayorship term runs four years.

The lawmaker said he is seeking the Republican Party’s support and approval for him to be their next candidate for mayor.

“And I hope that the party sees it fit that I am the right candidate for the mayorship,” he said.

If there may be other who are also interested in the position, Guerrero said the Republican Party will have to consider who is the best and right candidate.

The lawmaker said he is committed to run as mayor and he will soon be submitting his letter of intent to the GOP. He said he is still organizing his committee-to-elect.

Whoever will be chosen as the committee’s chairman will come up with a tentative date to make the official announcement of his candidacy, Guerrero said.

He said his focus is to continue and enhance the work that Apatang has been doing to clean the island. “Let’s beautify our villages. It’s important because we’re preparing to open up [Saipan] for our own industry, the tourism industry,” he said, adding that now is the opportune time to clean up the island. “Let’s start cleaning up because that’s the focal point of our tourism…for them to come and see how we beautify our islands. And…when we open up, our tourists will be visiting our villages.”

On the issue of peace and order, Guerrero said the community needs to combat illegal drugs. “It’s difficult when we have addicts out here in our community, destroying what we have,” he said.

Guerrero cited an example the improved San Vicente Park that, according to him, must be maintained because it belongs to the community.

“When we go out there and clean, it is giving it back to the community. But we need the support and help of the community to do their own part of making sure that they’re the eyes and ears of the mayor,” he said.

Guerrero said if the people see something inappropriate, they should report it to the proper authority. “That’s how we work. We need to work together as a team, not as individuals,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero was a parole officer before joining politics. He started as a House representative in 2015 when the late governor Eloy Inos asked him to run with him under the Covenant Party. The Covenant Party later joined the GOP.

“The late governor saw that I can be a candidate who will do good for the community. And since Day 1, that’s what I’ve been doing,” Guerrero said.

He hopes the community would support him in his run for mayor. “I humbly seek the voters of the island of Saipan to elect the right candidate,” he said. “I am not going to just stick to one area of the island. I would be all over the island…because if the community elects me to be next mayor, it’s for them,” he said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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