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Dear Precinct 5 voters and people of the CNMI

Letters to Editor
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Dear Precinct 5 voters and people of the CNMI,

I WRITE to introduce myself to those who keep wondering, who is this girl running in Precinct 5?

Este gi håyi yu.

My grandmother is Rosalia Crisostimo Aldan, the oldest of 10 siblings. She was a Chamorro in Yap during the war. She lost her first husband, Felipe Aquino to a bombing while in Yap. She, her two children and many others were repatriated to Tinian after the war. There, she remarried Alfred Flores Fleming and our family grew. Her entrepreneurial spirit was always present, when she sold wood bundles to the Japanese as a youth of 8, to when she collected the government issued rations at the dump after the war and remade them into empanada which she sold back to the people who threw it out in the first place.  Jose C. Tenorio of Joeten Enterprises was one of my grandmother's mentors and first investors of the Fleming Store when she opened it back in 1969. 

Este gi håyi yu.

My Grandfather is Alfred Flores Fleming.  He was the third oldest of 9 children.  He retired as the superintendent of the Trust Territory's Public Works, which today would function like facilities maintenance for all public entities like CUC, PSS, court, seaport, airport, the list goes on.  Like the most the people who grew up in the German and Japanese era, he was not afforded a formal education, but he could speak multiple languages and that is what led him to have this opportunity during the Trust Territory.   He was a product of the war.  He never threw things away.  They could always be useful he said.  You never know; as he would perform magic and fix the clutch on my car using just a paperclip and a washer, which he sanded down just so.   

Este gi håyi yu.

My grandparents taught me to always work hard.  Work as hard as we do, or harder, but never less. 

My grandparents taught me to be honest.  Your honor is your name.  Your honor is your word. 

My grandparents taught me that in order to have change, you have to know and honor your past.  You don't throw out everything, because it might be useful.  You never know. 

This is how I would approach moving forward to change the futures of our CNMI.  Because change can be scary.  Change can be threatening.  But change does not have to be.  I take the approach of looking at a system as a whole.  Find where the disconnects are, then tweak it just-so.   That does not mean throwing out everything and starting from scratch.  It does not mean playing the blame game and pointing fingers.  It means drawing a line in the sand here and moving forward to change.  Because,  in order to have change, you have to know and honor your past.  You don't throw out everything, because it might be useful.  You never know. 

Este gi håyi yu.

 

LEILA STAFFLER

Precinct 5, Saipan

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