Palacios, Mayor Apatang ‘absolutely’ open to gubernatorial debate

Palacios, Torres both accept Sablan’s debate challenge

Arnold Palacios

Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said yesterday that he and his running mate for lieutenant governor, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, are absolutely open to a gubernatorial debate.

In response to Saipan Tribune’s question, Palacios said there is already a debate in the planning stage by the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and that has been a tradition every gubernatorial election.

“Yes, I will be participating in the debate sponsored by the Chamber at the chamber’s invitation,” said Palacios, who is running for governor, with Apatang as his lieutenant governor, under a unified independent team in the Nov. 8 general election.

Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Rep. Christina “Tina” E. Sablan and her running mate for lieutenant governor, Rep. Leila Fleming, are challenging Palacios and Apatang, as well as Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Sen. Vinnie F. Sablan of the Republican Party, to a debate.

Palacios said yesterday that a debate is important so the gubernatorial candidates can share their visions for the CNMI’s future.

Palacios said the debate allows them to share how to fix the CNMI’s problems that presently exist, how they will meet the challenges they face, as well as how they can optimize the opportunities they have today and how they can create them.

Palacios, however, does not agree with a suggestion to also have a debate among the spouses of the gubernatorial candidates.“I don’t know where the suggestion came from, but let’s leave our spouses out of the campaign politics,” he said.

Palacios said he is grateful to his wife, Wella, for her support throughout his political career, which spans almost two decades, but says she is never involved in the intricacies of policy and program decisions he makes.

“However, she is always there to keep me grounded and remind me constantly that I work for the best interest of our people and the community that put us in office. And that’s more than I should ask of her,” Palacios said.

Last Wednesday, Torres said he is ready for a debate with the two gubernatorial teams running against him and Sablan. He stated that there should be not one but more debates. Torres also suggested to hold for the first time a debate among gubernatorial spouses.

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

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