Corina L. Magofna (D-Saipan) promised yesterday to “look beyond party lines” when making important decisions on legislations that affect the well-being and interests of people in the Commonwealth.
“I am hopeful and optimistic that all of my colleagues here share the same notion of looking beyond party lines,” said Magofna soon after sworn into office.
Magofna took her oath of office before Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja during a ceremony held at the House of Representatives’ chamber. Beside Magofna was her husband, Joseph Rios, and their daughter, Aiyani. Their son, Darius, is in the U.S. mainland.
The chamber was packed with Magofna’s family, friends, supporters, and Democratic Party officials and members.
Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, a Republican, attended the ceremony. Among those present was Carlos S. Camacho, a Democrat and the CNMI’s first governor.
In her speech, Magofna said she looks forward to working with all members of the 22nd Legislature on the shared vision of making the Marianas a great place to live.
“Because this is not a Republican Marianas or a Democrat Marianas. We are One Marianas. And together, we can make it better!” said Magofna, drawing cheers from representatives, some senators, guests, and the audience.
She opened her speech by extending, on her and her family’s behalf, condolences and prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of the late representative Ivan Alafanso Blanco, whose seat she will be taking over.
Magofna said Blanco was a great statesman, and was well loved and respected by everyone. She said Blanco’s accomplishments and the years of service and dedication that he has contributed to the people of Precinct 3 and the CNMI will never be forgotten.
Blanco, a Republican, passed away last July 23. This triggered a special election for the vacant House Precinct 3 seat last Saturday, where Magofna handily defeated Grace “Pitu” Sablan Vaiagae of the Republican Party.
Magofna said she is now officially sworn in to fill the vacant House seat, not a Republican seat, or a Democrat seat, but the People’s seat.
She recalled that when she was doing her house-to-house visits during the campaign, she would always start off by introducing herself and why she’s standing in front of someone’s yard or doorstep. “Then I would say I’m not sure which political party you are affiliated with, but I humbly ask that you please look beyond the party lines, take some time to read about my platform, my credentials and my work experience, and please consider giving me your vote of confidence,” she said.
In return, Magofna said, she made a promise to reciprocate the very same action should she get elected. “To the people of Precinct 3, thank you for your consideration and a huge thank you for your votes of confidence,” she said.
Magofna first ran for the House last November, but she was 34 votes short of securing victory.
Magofna is a former budget officer at the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Accounting from the University of Phoenix, and an associate degree in Accounting from the University of Hawaii.
Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, a Republican, echoed Manglona’s statement that it is not a party issue any more. “Whether you are a Republican, you’re a Democrat, you’re now a member of the House of Representatives to represent the people of the Commonwealth,” Palacios said.
House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) welcomed Magofna to the House. “Thank you for taking this opportunity to serve our people. It is an honorable position. So always remember to serve our people honorably,” he said.
He said lawmakers all have ideas and goals that they would like to achieve when it comes to serving the people.
The speaker said they are all here to help not just Magfona but help each other achieve those goals as much as possible.
“Yes, there will be differences. Yes, there will be disagreements. But debate on differences is a big part of working together,” Villagomez said.
Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) said she has no doubt that Magofna will be a tremendous asset, and an invaluable colleague because of her professional experience, her knack for numbers, and here ability to critically analyze issues, collaborate, and problem solve.
Sablan said she is very proud that they are adding one more phenomenal woman to the House. “I am so excited for the months ahead and I look forward to working with you,” Sablan said.
Magofna is the sixth female member of the House. All six belong to the Democratic Party.
House minority leader Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) extended the Republican Party’s spirit of cooperation and collaboration to her. “The work of the people begins today. And on behalf of the House minority, we welcome you to the People’s House,” Demapan said.