SNILD members elect Sen. Sablan as chairman

Blanco elected vice chairman, Babauta is floor leader

Members of the 22nd Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation elected yesterday by acclamation Sen. Vinnie F. Sablan (Ind-Saipan) as chairman, while Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) was elected vice chairman and Rep. Sheila Babauta (D-Saipan) was elected floor leader.

Blanco won over Sen. Edith Deleon Guerrero (D-Saipan) on a 12-9 vote. Babauta won 12-9 over Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan), who served as SNILD chairman in his last three terms as representative of Precinct 2 in the 19th, 20th, and 21st Legislature.

It was Rep. Ralph N. Yumul (R-Saipan) who nominated Sen. Vinnie Sablan as chairman. Since there were no other nominees, Yumul moved for a vote by acclamation. No one objected.

All members were present during the election of Sen. Sablan, except for Rep. Leila Staffler (D-Saipan), who had a doctor’s appointment at the time. Sen. Sablan then called for a recess to wait for Staffler during the election of the vice chairman and floor leader. The session resumed after Staffler arrived.

For the position of vice chairman, Rep. Jonathan Blas T. Attao (R-Saipan) nominated Blanco, while Rep. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) nominated Sen. Deleon Guerrero.

For the position of floor leader, Rep. Christina-Marie Sablan (D-Saipan) nominated Rep. Sheila Babauta (D-Saipan), while Rep. Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero (R-Saipan) nominated Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan).

Yumul voted for Blanco as vice chair and Babauta as floor leader.

Sen. Sablan appointed Frances Jones Kaipat as delegation clerk.

In an interview after the session, Sen. Sablan said the SNILD wants to make sure that they have assistance programs intact for the Saipan and the Northern Islands senatorial district.

“I want to make sure and I will ensure that…everyone agrees that our good mayors from our senatorial district are taken care of and their programs,” he said.

The senator said there’s a lot of work ahead of them as the CNMI is in “unchartered territory” because of this pandemic. He, however, expressed confidence that they can work together and find solutions for the people.

Sen. Sablan underscored the importance of taking care of all the program for the people under the mayor’s offices of Saipan and the Northern Islands. “We will also reach out as much and assist different organizations and non-profit organizations as well as they play an important role in society to offer assistance to our people,” he said.

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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