Members of the Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands were in Atlanta, Georgia, over the weekend to attend the Democratic National Committee winter meeting. Heading the delegation was NMI Democrats chair Danny Quitugua, along with Nola Hix and Michael White. The delegates had the opportunity to vote for the DNC chairman.
This was the first time the NMI Democratic Party participated in the DNC meetings as full members, and the first time the delegates were able to vote for candidates running for positions within the national party. Last July the party participated in the Democratic National Convention and, for the first time in CNMI history, cast their ballots for the Democratic nominee for president.
“We are having a say in how the national party operates,” said Quitugua. “We had the chance to meet with party officials and talk to them about the issues we face in the islands, and how the national party can help us address them.”
Quitugua believes that it is important for the Northern Mariana Islands to engage in national politics.
“The five U.S. territories collectively have 113 votes at the Democratic National Convention. That’s about as many as Wisconsin or North Carolina,” Quitugua said. “We have the potential to be very influential in national politics, and we should wield that power to improve the lives of our people.”
The delegates were front and center during the DNC meeting and met with nearly all of the candidates in Atlanta, including former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Rep. Keith Ellison, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Perez was later chosen as the new DNC chairman.
A CNN Live Leadership debate between the eight candidates for DNC chair was also a feature of the event.
“We literally had front row seats at the DNC chair debate on CNN,” said Hix. “But more importantly we had a voice at the meeting.”