The cast of the 21st Legislature’s House of Representatives is now complete, with Rep. Marco T. Peter (R-Saipan) being sworn in yesterday at the House chamber on Capital Hill.
Peter won the House seat for Precinct 3 after it became vacant when representative Francisco S. Dela Cruz died early this year.
Peter emerged as the victor in a four-way race in last Saturday’s special election, garnering 863 of the 1,737 votes cast or 49.68 percent. He defeated former representative Donald C. Barcinas of the local Democratic Party (447), and independent bets David C. Sablan (233) and Mariano DLG Fajardo (194).
Peter is the son of David Peter and former representative Malua T. Peter. His father, a Vietnam War veteran, is a known musician that penned the Carolinian verses of the CNMI anthem, Gi Talo Gi Halom Tasi/Satil Matawal Pacifico, while his mom served in the ninth to 12th legislatures.
Dela Cruz was re-elected to the 21st Legislature in last year’s elections but died last Jan. 6, a week before the first organizational session of the House on Jan. 14.
Camacho, before administering Peter’s oath, first explained the history and importance of the oath of office. He pointed out that there is only one oath of office for all judges, elected officials, law enforcement, and attorneys and it is embedded in the CNMI Constitution “because no judge, governor, and even the Legislature—House and Senate—has authority or power to change the highest law of the land.
“When you take your oath, you bind yourself [and] your loyalty to the people of the Commonwealth,” he added.
In a brief speech after taking his seat in between Rep. Tina Sablan (Ind-Saipan) of Precinct 2 and Rep. Joseph A. Flores (Ind-Saipan) of Precinct 1, Peter thanked his family and Precinct 3 voters for giving him the chance to represent them.
He added that Dela Cruz’s shoes would be hard to fill but he is ready for the challenge of continuing his work. “The late [Frank] Dela Cruz was a champion protecting our people, environment, and community. I intend to honor him by continuing to do the same. I know it will be a lot of hard work, but I am ready for the challenge.”
“It is a privilege to work with our Republican administration under the leadership of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios; along with the 21st Senate through the leadership of Senate President Victor B. Hocog (R-Rota) and my House colleagues through the leadership of Speaker Blas Jonathan T. Attao (R-Saipan).”
Peter said he is also ready to cooperate with the mayors of the four municipalities and recognized the importance of all the children in the CNMI and the environment. “Our children deserve the best place to grow and raise their own children. As a show of our love to them, we must protect our environment and our islands while seeking ways to improve the economy. This balancing act is not easy, but if we work together, I believe we can succeed. “
“Visitors come to our islands to enjoy what makes us unique and different from the rest of the United States—our distinct culture, our beautiful environment, and our proximity to Asia. We must protect our environment in order to remain a preferred island destination.”
He vowed to serve the people to the best of his abilities and urged all elected leaders to encourage local entrepreneurship. “We must also encourage and teach our people about entrepreneurship so they can own their own business, and provide tourist-related activities and benefit from our main economic engine.”