SURROUNDED by numerous family members, friends and other supporters at his As Teo residence on Sunday, Republican Gov. Ralph DLG Torres officially announced that Senate Floor Leader Vinson Sablan is his running-mate in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

Governor Torres said he and the late former Gov. Eloy S. Inos made their official announcement to run in the 2014 elections on Inos’s birthday.

Torres, 42, and Sablan, 43, planned to make their official announcement  on Aug. 6, the governor’s birthday.

However, Torres said they had to postpone the announcement in order to pay respect to the late Republican Rep. Ivan Blanco whose Mass of Christian burial was held on Aug. 6.

“It was more important to us to honor his service on that day,” Torres said.

The governor said he chose the Senate floor leader to be his running-mate because Sablan is a man of integrity who loves the people of the Commonwealth and, like Torres, has taken a similar path of public service, serving in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

He said Senate Floor Leader Sablan has also supported bills that are good for the CNMI community, and is someone who shows compassion.

“We’ve always respected each other,” the governor said. “This is one thing that I’ve realized moving forward. He cares for our people, he wants to give opportunities to the younger generation, and I believe that his personality and mine, as well as our family backgrounds, are the same. That’s why I believe that this team is the right team moving forward on this journey to 2022,” Torres added.

Senate Floor Leader Sablan said the governor asked him to be Torres’s running-mate in spring.

“The feeling that gives us the most honor is for our people to have faith in us, trust in us, and have confidence,” Sablan said. “I decided to join the governor to continue the good work that he’s been doing, and to also improve any of the portions and parts of our society that need improvement. Every day has to be a better day than yesterday, and I think that if we strive for that, we can further improve the quality of life for our people.”

He added, “My goal is to continue public service on another level, and to make great decisions on another stage. That’s why I decided to take this move to run with the governor under the Republican Party.”

Torres and Sablan both extended their deep gratitude to God, their families, friends, supporters, U.S. servicemembers, the CNMI Covid-19 Task Force, first responders, frontliners, and the people of the Commonwealth for playing pivotal roles in their lives.

The governor recalled that after he was elected in 2018, he was sworn-in by his mother’s bedside in the hospital intensive care unit where she had been admitted.

“Not a single day passes by that I don’t thank God for giving me my mom and for giving me my in-laws as well. To everyone here today, you cannot perform without your family. If your mom and dad are still alive, spend some time with them... They are your backbone,” he said.

The governor added that the past six years have been quite a journey, referring to the typhoons that had slammed into the islands, and now the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“There’s a road that still lies ahead of us. In this journey, again, I ask for your vote of confidence, your blessings, and your support,” he said.

Senate Floor Leader Sablan, for his part, said the day before the 2018 elections, he was admitted into the emergency room.

“The very next day, our hearts were happy that the beautiful people of the third senatorial district, Saipan and the Northern Islands, gave me and my family the blessing to serve them in the Senate, and so the journey continues for me,” he said. Sablan topped the Saipan senatorial race in 2018.

“Now I will ask not only the supporters who gave me their blessing to serve in the third senatorial district, I want to also ask our brothers and sisters and beautiful people of the first and second senatorial districts to also give us your blessing and your vote,” he added.

Sablan said he and Torres will run their campaign with positivity and focus on the tasks that are ahead of them to further improve the quality of life for the people of the Commonwealth.

The CNMI Republican Party officially endorsed the tandem after a unanimous vote by the five-member board earlier on Sunday, said party president James Ada, citing the bylaws of the GOP.

He said Torres and Sablan are the party’s official  candidates for governor and lt. governor.

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