The administration’s official family is now complete, with the Senate confirming four more Cabinet secretary nominees during a session on Tinian last Friday.
The new Cabinet members are David Atalig (Finance), Marianne Teregeyo (Public Lands), Robert Hunter (Community and Cultural Affairs), and Mark Rabauliman (Commerce).
Atalig is a new appointee while Teregeyo, Hunter, and Rabauliman are all re-appointees.
They join Vicky Benavente (Labor), James Ada (Public Works), Tony Benavente (Lands and Natural Resources), Robert Guerrero (Public Safety), Clyde Norita (Fire and Emergency Management Services), and Vincent Attao (Corrections) as members of the Torres administration’s official family.
Atalig, who just returned to Saipan after years of working and living in the U.S. mainland, said he is ready to make positive changes to the department and looks forward “to being more efficient and effective as I move [Finance] in a new strategic direction.”
Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) said that confirming all Cabinet nominees is the final part of the confirmation process that began with public hearings on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan.
“Today is the final action of our work. A lot of concerns were raised and we discussed it thoroughly. We also took into our account those who objected and they submitted their objections during the hearings. We encouraged the secretaries to take heed of these concerns and try to address them,” said Hofschneider.
Sen. Teresita A. Santos (Ind-Rota) thanked the administration for re-appointing Teregeyo and for appointing Atalig at Finance.
She said that she knows what challenge Atalig will be facing at Finance. “For the past couple of months, we have heard and read reports of our dwindling economic condition, thus austerity measures are put in place. For the past couple of months also, our…senatorial delegation have been provided with figures that were, perhaps, inconsistent or inaccurate. Therefore, we ask that you thoroughly review or re-assess the books and provide our delegation your findings so we can move forward with appropriations to help address some critical or pressing needs for our senatorial district. …We trust you [will] serve our CNMI well.”