Gov. Ralph DLG Torres confirmed yesterday at his home in As Teo his intent to run anew, this time with Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) as his running mate in the 2018 general election.
Both candidates acknowledged the late governor Eloy S. Inos, whose passing in late 2015 catapulted Torres to the highest CNMI position at a young age of 35.
“As we look forward to our future, I want to share my deep appreciation to my mentor, the late governor Eloy S. Inos. The past few years I have done what I can to uphold his legacy and I know that he is proud of all the progress we have made together,” said Torres, who also acknowledged the role of current Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog.
Hocog previously said he intends to run for a Senate seat representing Rota.
“I know for a fact that his [Hocog’s] heart is with the people of Rota, the whole community, and our Commonwealth,” said Torres. “…I know he is going to do a phenomenal job, as he has done being our lieutenant governor.”
Torres said that a lot has been done in the CNMI, but there still has “a lot ahead of us.”
“We are doing a lot better than we did…we have done so much in our community, our economy, we created more jobs. We have a lot ahead of us, a lot of work to do,” he said. “We have done great things together.”
Tores also made a passing reference to his administration’s ongoing negotiations with the U.S. military.
“It has been really hard to fight against [the U.S. Department of Defense] in making sure that Tinian is protected and gets what it deserves, but it was easy in a way that we were doing the right thing and fighting for our people,” he said.
Palacios said he is humbled after the Republican Party in the CNMI chose him to be their candidate for lieutenant governor.
“I am humbled by the trust and confidence that the committee has given me and I am also honored that the governor has [chosen me],” he said, adding that he and Torres have previously “talked” about being his running mate. Hocog chaired Torres’ selection committee.
“I didn’t assume anything; he was always courteous [and] respectful about it,” he said.
“Five years ago, late governor Inos charted a course with the 18th Legislature for the economic recovery of the economy that was in a…downward tailspin for 15 years. Today, we have realized that vision that [Inos] charted for the people of the Commonwealth,” he said, adding that there is nothing more ‘honorable’ than to ensure that Inos’ vision is attained ‘for the betterment of our community,”’ said Torres.
“Today, our retirees are receiving 100 percent of their benefits, our land compensation [amount] continues to [go down], public education received the necessary funding to provide the opportunity for our children, and more people have been employed in the last three years. That is economic recovery at its best,” added Palacios.
Torres first became the governor in late 2015.
“It is our mission, all of our mission—from the legislative branch with House Speaker Rafael Demapan (R-Saipan) and the House members and the members of the Senate—to ensure that we sustain this economic growth, sustain the opportunities of our people and uplift their lives,” he added.