Legislature adopts joint resolution to honor Blanco

Ivan-Lilli Blanco

Lilli Blanco, daughter of late representative Ivan James Alafanso Blanco, along with some relatives, joins senators and representatives in a group photo at the House chamber Wednesday morning. The Senate and the House adopted during a joint session Joint Resolution 22-02 that commends Blanco’s life and legacy of service. (Ferdie De La Torre)

The Senate and the House of Representatives adopted Wednesday during a joint session Joint Resolution 22-02 that commends the life and legacy of service of late representative Ivan James Alafanso Blanco.

At the joint session held in the House chamber, Rep. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan) and Sen. Vinnie Vinson F. Sablan (R-Saipan) formally introduced Joint Resolution 22-02, which also expresses the Legislature’s sympathies to Blanco’s bereaved family.

Present at the session was Lilli, one of Blanco’s children, and some of Blanco’s relatives.

Blanco, 45, passed away due to massive pulmonary embolism last July 23.

Blanco was a member of the 20th, 21st, and 22nd CNMI legislatures.

The resolution states that Blanco began his professional career in 2006 in the Federated States of Micronesia national government as a federal grants manager for the FSM Department of Finance and Administration. In 2007, Blanco served as auditor for the FSM Office of National Public Auditor in Palikir, Pohnpei.

Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) described Blanco as a very humble man who was direct and concise about what he intended to convey or discuss. “And that resonates to the admiration by a lot of us, especially here in the Senate and the House,” Hofschneider said.

He said not many lawmakers possess Blanco’s demeanor, especially in their line of work.

Hofschneider said that through the years that they worked together in the Legislature and, most recently, during the impasse of the budget last fiscal year, “he never changed his tone. He [was] always very assertive in terms of what he want[ed]. And that’s gained more admiration to his character,” Hofschneider said.

Blanco used to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee when Hofschneider was chairing the Senate Fiscal Committee.
After Senate and the House adopted the resolution, House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) said the resolution was to be presented to Blanco’s family at the state funeral yesterday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.

In an interview later, Blanco’s office manager/secretary, Mercedes T. Usenuku, said there’s so many good things that Blanco did to her personally and professionally. “I’m forever grateful. So grateful to him. He’s such an honorable, humble boss,” Usenuku said.

She started working with Blanco as his secretary in February 2017. Of 14 applicants, Blanco hired her, Usenuku said, and that “blew me away,” considering that she had little knowledge and experience.

She said Blanco encouraged her to attend trainings and study to become a court-certified interpreter/translator for the Chuukese language.

“That I will continue,” Usenuku 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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