I HAVE expressed to many of you my heartfelt appreciation for the sympathy and love you have shown me and my family since the passing of my husband, Ivan Alafanso Blanco, in July 2021. To those I have not thanked personally, I want you to know we all are very grateful for holding Ivan dear to your hearts.

The pain of his loss is still so fresh, but I am continuously reminded that life will and must continue to move on for us, for our family and for our community.

Tomorrow’s Special Election (Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021) reminds us that even in moments of hardship, we must gather together, recognize those still in need, and do what we can to fill the space that Ivan has left in our lives, our community, and our government as best we can.

My younger sister Grace “Pitu” Sablan-Vaiagae has put herself forward to continue Ivan’s legacy of service.

I am so grateful for the outpouring of support she has gotten through her visits to houses around Precinct 3, from the early votes cast, to those who stop by to see us and offer words of wisdom or a kind word of support. The community of all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs was that has offered support for Grace’s candidacy represents the type of community Ivan sought to build: a unified community fostered around love, respect, humility, and service.

By now, many of you know of Grace’s credentials and how ready she is to take on this challenge. Her education, frontline work with our children, the elderly, and those suffering from mental health and substance abuse is evidence of her compassion and ability to help our people.

I felt it necessary to share the reasons why I hope Grace will continue Ivan’s term following this election.

Growing up as sisters we have naturally had our disagreements, but when times were hard, we have been there for each other. These past weeks have been a whirlwind for us all. I have been told that this pain never really leaves you, you just grow stronger to deal with it. This growth happens through the love and support of those around us, but also through the difficulties and challenges involved with rebuilding. Grace through this all has been there for me and my children and for that I will forever be grateful.

Grace has been my hands when I have been too tired to lift them, coordinating services and events and making sure those around us are cared for. She has been my ears to help me hear all the information, well wishes and messages that have been poured on us. She’s been my voice in advocating for our family. She may be small, but she sure is fierce — as some of you may have seen. And she has been my heart in carrying all the love and sorrow these weeks have provided us.

Grace did what any other sister would do. She stepped up to carry us through a sorrowful time in our lives.  She provided when I was in despair.  She provided enough love for all of us when I was at my weakest. And she rose to defend me and my family when I was I barely even able to stand on my own.  As she has done for me, I’ve seen her do for others in her career. She did it with humility, compassion, and gentle care.

And like Ivan she sees the best in people, is genuine in her way of helping others, and conducts herself in an upright manner. She is a strong woman and a believer in preserving our culture and language, respect and values we cherish as a Pacific people.

That is why Grace has my vote and I ask for your consideration to give hehr heart and the love she has for this community and all those who make it great an outlet to serve as a member of the CNMI House of Representatives.

From our entire family and the Pitu clan, thank you to you all for your support, love, respect, and understanding. God bless you, and God bless our Marianas and Micronesia.

Senseramente,

CARMEN SABLAN BLANCO

Capital Hill, Saipan

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