Youngest CNMI delegate at DNC hopes to inspire


The youngest official member of the CNMI delegation, Mona Manglona, cheers on the speakers on the first of four days of the Democratic National Convention. At her left are CNMI Democratic Party chairwoman Janet King (partly hidden) and CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP). (Jillian L. Angeline)

PHILADELPHIA—Mona Manglona is 19 years old, an undergraduate student at Philadelphia University. She’s spending her week at the Wells Fargo Center, representing the Commonwealth with more than 10 other delegates. “It’s just amazing to be here, I believe it’s the first time the CNMI has a voice as a delegation, so it’s very surreal,” she tells Saipan Tribune Monday evening in the midst of thousands of delegates from around the nation.

On Tuesday, she and the Northern Marianas delegation made history during the roll call vote, a first for the Islands. Manglona could be seen on live TV standing in front of the CNMI Democratic Party chairwoman Janet King as King announced nine votes for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and two for Bernie Sanders.

As the youngest official member of the CNMI delegation, Manglona says it’s important for youth to get involved in the political process and she wants to help give them a voice. “I feel that a lot of people my age are interested in politics but that’s all it is. It’s usually just a hashtag and it ends there.”

Manglona credits her dad for inspiring her. She says he hosted one of the first caucuses ever for the island of Rota.

She got in touch with DNC chairwoman Janet King to see what she could do to get involved and that’s how she landed a spot with the CNMI group in Philadelphia this week.

CNMI delegate Nola Hix is also supporting a push to get more young adults politically active in the Commonwealth. On Tuesday evening, Hix posted to social media “A proud moment for us tonight as we understand that in order for our voices to be heard we need to #participate.” She’s excited to get more young residents involved in the CNMI Democratic Party after the Convention concludes.

Manglona tells Saipan Tribune she wants to inspire the youth “and let them know you can be 19 years old and be here at the Democratic Convention or the RNC for that matter. So, that’s what’s motivating me to be here, represent Hillary Clinton and her views and hope we can get America to be at a better place again.”

The youngest member of the delegation is receiving a good response for her participation, she tells Saipan Tribune. “I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from everyone. I’ve been posting it on social media. I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from people my age, people even younger surprised that I’m here,” explains Manglona, adding in the discussion it’s important to educate young adults who will lead in the future.

And Manglona will not be leaving her knowledge in Pennsylvania. She is looking forward to returning to the CNMI with her experiences.

“Politics is in my blood. I come from a political family and it’s definitely the dream to go back home, take everything I learned out here and make a difference back home.”

Jillian L. Angeline (Correspondent)

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