By Troy Torres
U.S. Congressman Gregorio "Kilili" Sablan (Ind.-CNMI), said on his Facebook profile that, while he's grateful for the outpour of support for him to be the next governor of the CNMI, he does not want the office.
"There is a growing number of asks, suggestions, requests – call them what you may – that I consider running for the position of governor in 2022. And for that thank you. But to be completely honest with everyone who calls the Marianas home, I never had the ambition to become governor. I ran for delegate because I knew I could do the job well. And so many of you, since the 2008 election, have approved of my job performance. And while we could probably win the race should I run for governor, I think that the governing capabilities of the job of governor and the diversity of skills the job requires are high above my intellectual capacity. I may not be smart enough to be a governor." - Kilili
While the truth likely is Mr. Sablan is just being modest about his brain power, it stands to reason that if being smart were a prerequisite for the job, current Republican Gov. Ralph Torres would not have qualified in the first place. But, we digress.
Mr. Torres's term - if he is not first removed from office by the next Commonwealth Legislature or indicted and arrested on federal corruption charges - expires in January 2023. The election for governor is in November 2022.
Mr. Sablan has been a rumored favorite to run for the office in 2022. Other names that have surfaced include former CNMI House Congressman Ed Propst, Congresswoman Tina Sablan, and University of Guam Dean of the School of Education Dr. Lawrence Camacho. All three are democrats.
The democrats nearly swept away half the seats in the CNMI House of Representatives, and two out of the three races for the Senate in a stunning upset in the Commonwealth's political history. The election was not only a referendum against Mr. Torres, but a call by voters against corruption and widespread cronyism associated with many Republican office holders.
Mr. Sablan said it is important to him that the Commonwealth find a strong candidate, who is competent and has integrity, to run for governor in 2022. In his post, he asks the people of the Commonwealth to help him find such a candidate.
"I think it best that we find an individual who wants to become governor, one who could do a much better job than the incumbent can ever do, and one who could win in the 2022 election. Let’s look hard, deep, and wide for that someone. I know there is someone out there. Please help me find that someone who has the ambition, the governance capability and the diversity in skills required to do us all a great job in governing our Commonwealth." - Kilili
And the congressman didn't shut the door completely on a future run for governor, saying if no one else suitable steps up to the plate, then he'll do it:
"There is a saying in politics to 'never say never.' And if we come to a point in time that we couldn’t find that other someone, and we have no other choice for someone who at least has our best common interest at heart, then, at that point in time, and only at that time when I may reconsider." - Kilili