Marianas Variety — U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan has congratulated Guam’s newly elected delegate to the U.S. Congress, Democrat Michael San Nicolas. San Nicolas won election with 56 percent of the vote.

“With the U.S. House of Representatives looking to have a Democratic majority, Guam voters made a smart decision to send a Democrat to be their voice in Congress,” Congressman Sablan said.

“I look forward to working closely with Michael San Nicolas on regional issues, if the voters of the Northern Marianas elect to return me to Congress as their representative.”

With a total of ten years’ experience, Congressman Sablan will be the senior member of the caucus representing U.S. insular areas in the 116th Congress.

‘Democratic majority in House gives Marianas more clout’

Kilili also welcomed election results from the rest of the United States, giving the Democratic Party the majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kilili is a senior member of the Democratic Caucus, eligible to be a chairman in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce or in the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over all insular affairs.

“We have been able to accomplish a lot even with a Republican majority over the last eight years,” Sablan said, “the CW bill, extra food stamp funding, the increased annual Title I money for schools, return of our submerged lands, and 24-hour water for Saipan.

“But when Democrats had the majority in my first two years in Congress we got $109 million for Medicaid and lowered the local match requirement. We increased Pell grants and made more students eligible. The Marianas became eligible for a state-share of domestic violence grant money. The troop store expansion began. And we got over $1 million in earmarks for NMTI, the Garapan Public Market, and Refaluwasch and Chamorro language programs.

“Those were good years for the Marianas,” the Congressman said. “And I am looking forward to good years ahead with the Democrats back in the majority in the House and a chairmanship for the Marianas.”

Congressman Sablan congratulated all the new Democrats who won seats that had been held by Republicans and made the new majority possible.

“I also congratulate my friend Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional  Campaign Committee. Ben Ray was responsible for fund-raising and recruiting candidates nationwide for this election. Democrats success today is in large measure the result of his work.

“Now, I look forward to returning to Congress for two more years to work for the people of the Mariana Islands.”

Congressman Sablan has already made public his “Agenda 116” for the next Congress, including:

Medicaid state-like treatment for the Marianas — already included in the Democrats Health Equity and Accountability Act with 71 cosponsors.

Federal tuition assistance for Marianas college students in mainland universities — already included in the Aim Higher Act with 68 sponsors.

More funding for the Marianas E-NAP food stamp program — already introduced in the Northern Mariana Islands Enhanced Nutrition Assistance Act.

The Northern Mariana Islands Workforce Stabilization Act providing status for long-term investors and workers, as agreed by CNMI 902 negotiators, with 36 cosponsors.

In addition, Congressman Sablan has already received assurances from Democratic leaders that his requests for supplemental disaster assistance for the Marianas to recover from Super Typhoon Yutu will be part of the appropriations package being put together for Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

“Yutu disaster assistance will be my first order of business when I am back at work in Congress on November 14,” Kilili said. “This is our chance to rebuild stronger than ever. I intend to make the most of all I have learned in ten years in Congress to get the Marianas the help we need.”