Unaffiliated

THE Covid-19 pandemic remains a huge and serious global concern, and it continues to rage, seemingly unabated, on neighboring Guam where the number of accumulated cases is now approaching 5,000. Governments around the world, GovGuam included, are doing their best to prevent the spread of the virus, and in the CNMI’s case, we are truly fortunate to have a system in place that has, so far, kept the community safe.

So thank you CNMI government, its leaders, CHCC, the Covid-19 Task Force and other agencies, all the front-liners and members of the community. Let’s all continue to comply with the directives: observe social-distancing, wear a face-mask, wash our hands. This issue is non-political and we should keep it that way.

Back to what really matters

AS in previous elections, the candidates for office and their partisans conducted a spirited, often heated, campaign. But on Election Day, both parties’ supporters were courteous and civil to each other, and this continued on election night itself. After the votes were tabulated at the multi-purpose center, Democratic and Republican campaign officials congratulated each other warmly. (Also worthy of praise were the election commission officials and staffers, the Office of the Public Auditor, the AG’s office, DPS and the other agencies and organizations that helped ensure yet another clean and orderly CNMI election.)

At the tabulation center, it was, in the end, what it should be:  a gathering of community members who may disagree with each other in politics, but cordially and respectfully. Politics, after all, is a mere tool and not an end itself. And the fact that a vast majority of people are apolitical just shows how there is so much more to life than politics.

In any case, it was a big night for the revitalized NMI Democratic Party which notched impressive victories, and — depending on the absentee-ballot tabulation on Nov. 17th and the usual post-election maneuvering — could end up forming the leadership of the 22nd House. (The last time a Democrat became speaker of the House was in 1992. And the last time the Democrats became part of House leadership was in 2000 when they coalesced with the Covenant faction of the GOP.)

Considering the islands’ current economic uncertainty, it could have been worse for the Republicans. But they lost “only” four House seats and, in an unexpectedly tight race, a Senate seat.

As the NMI Democratic Party vice chairman would put it, the biggest winners were the voters. And their message is unmistakable: they want to see more accountability and more transparency in their government, but they also appreciate what most of their lawmakers have done in the past two years (13 of 20 incumbent House members and one of two senators were re-elected). As in the past elections, moreover, among the election winners  are several “new faces” who are educated and eager to serve the public.

To be sure, there are many other ways to explain the recent election results, but it is clear that voters expect their government to help improve their lives and not make things worse.

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