Greetings, people of the Northern Marianas,
What can I do to make the world a better place? The answer to that question can guide each of us as we make choices for a lifetime or a day: about the work we do, the way we live, how we interact with family, friends, and strangers. What can I do to make the world a better place?
Sometimes, of course, we stumble. At times, we succeed. And when we succeed, whether in a small way or large, in private or in public, that experience should help us decide the next time we have to answer the question: What can I do to make the world a better place?
Over the last decade I have been given the extraordinary opportunity to make the world better by serving you, the people of the Northern Marianas, in the U.S. Congress. Sometimes by helping in a small way a single individual. Sometimes in ways that change the course of life for thousands.
The opportunities to change for the better often align with the moral and religious values I learned from my parents and the Camacho and Kilili tradition, from the Mercedarian nuns and my Jesuit teachers in Chuuk, and from mentors like Mayor +Vicente D. Sablan, Bishop +Tomas A. Camacho, +Herman Q. Guerrero, Speaker +“Mitch” I. Pangelinan, former governor +Pedro P. Tenorio, +Peter Michael P. Tenorio, former governor Carlos S. Camacho, Juan S. Tenorio and Uncle Dave M. Sablan, among many others.
I have been able to feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Nourish our children with education. And help those our society treats as outcasts to lift themselves up and live with dignity. I do not mean I cooked the meals or gave medicine to the ill. I did not stand before a classroom and open minds to learning. But I was able to put resources in the hands of those who did that work by making sure the federal government treated the people of the Northern Marianas more equitably at last.
Now I must decide whether to offer to continue doing this work in the U.S. Congress.
Many in our community are saddened by the corruption they see in our Commonwealth government and want me to step in and work to make it better. For months Andrea and I have wrestled with this decision. I would love to be able to sleep at home in my own bed each night, to be here to share precious moments with my family and friends. I would be happy never to step on a plane for that grueling 36-hour trip to Washington and suffer the days of jetlag after; feel the loneliness of being far away from home.
Yes, my quality of life would certainly be better if I ran for governor. Win or lose I could then stay home!
But would I be doing all I could to make the world a better place? Would the investment the people of the Northern Marianas have made to help me learn how to represent them effectively, or the Northern Marianas seniority, in Congress be lost? Not forever, of course, because someday a new delegate will begin the long process of learning that I had to go through. But when that day comes the Northern Marianas standing in Congress will slip from leadership to the lower rungs.
And, if elected governor, how much better could I make our world? For the truth is our problem is more than one corrupt individual. We have allowed a culture of corruption to grow in our society, where many see what is happening, but too few are willing to say stop. Until more say basta, the corruption will continue, no matter who is governor.
So, today I am announcing my decision to run for delegate again. It is in Congress I can best serve to make the lives of the people of the Northern Marianas better. That is the work I will continue to do for you if you so choose on election day next year.
And I ask for your understanding and your support.
By Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan is the delegate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the U.S. Congress.