Sablan-Staffler team kicks off campaign rally


Rep. Christina Marie Elise Sablan (D-Saipan), the NMI Democratic Party’s candidate for governor in the Nov. 8 general election, speaks during their campaign kickoff yesterday at the Garapan Fishing Base. Sablan’s running mate, Rep. Leila Haveia Fleming Clark Staffler (D-Saipan), is behind Sablan, along with Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), CNMI’s first governor Carlos Camacho, and Democrat lawmakers. (Ferdie Dela Torre)

With the slogan “Trusted Leadership,” the NMI Democratic Party held their campaign kickoff at the Garapan Fishing Base late afternoon yesterday to officially launch the gubernatorial bid of Rep. Christina Marie E. Sablan (D-Saipan) and her running mate, Rep. Leila Haveia Fleming Clark Staffler (D-Saipan), giving them a little over nine months to convince CNMI voters.

In her remarks, Sablan said she and her running mate are sometimes asked is the Commonwealth ready for two women to lead the CNMI government. “And the answer to that is yes!” said Sablan after people cheered “yes” and clapped.

Campaign organizers distributed flyers with messages such as “Change is on the ballot,” “Good governance starts today,” and “Tina & Leila for you in 2022!” Blue and white balloons were tied to tents.

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) and the CNMI’s first governor, Carlos Camacho, joined other Democrat lawmakers under a tent that served as their stage.

At the ceremony, Rep. Sheila J. Babauta (D-Saipan) introduced Staffler, while Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan), introduced Sablan.

Sablan said she and Staffler are already proof that change is possible in the Marianas. “Change takes time. It requires hard work, collaboration, and human ingenuity,” Sablan said.

She said she always believes in the tremendous potential of the Marianas to be among the best places on Earth to live and visit.

“We have natural beauty in abundance. We have incredible cultural richness and diversity, and truly some of the kindest, most generous and most talented people on Earth…,”Sablan said.

Sablan said she and Staffler are offering leadership that is fair, honest and compassionate—“leadership that strives to lift everyone up, leadership that prioritizes investments in the education and health of our people, and in safe and resilient infrastructure throughout our islands,” she said.

Sablan said she understands how crucial education is to the economic development and prosperity of the whole Commonwealth.

She said they recognize that health is wealth and the ability to grow and thrive as a community is directly connected to the health of the people and their access to care.

“We also know that our capacity for social and economic development depends on essential infrastructure, clean, drinkable 24-hour water, stable and affordable power, supported by energy efficiency mandates and renewable sources,” the lawmaker said.

She said there will be safe streets with sidewalks, crosswalks, proper lighting and bicycle lanes, and a comprehensive program of solid waste management that includes recycling, coordinated collection and sanitary landfills on all three islands.

She said wastewater treatment is important on all three islands that protects the Commonwealth waters.

The lawmaker said qualified ethical people will be appointed to lead government departments and agencies.

She said there will be no sweetheart deals, no political interference in law enforcement, no special favors to special interests in the Sablan-Staffler administration.

When Saipan Tribune left past 6pm, the event was still ongoing.

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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