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Gregorio 'Kilili' Sablan

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The U.S. Representative for Northern Mariana Islands's At large district, serving since 2009.
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Seven House Chairmen visit the Northern Marianas
One of the most high-powered groups ever to visit our islands arrived by military jet on Sunday. Seven House Chairmen, under the leadership of Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings of Washington, left DC on August 9 for the Western Pacific. I traveled with the delegation and at my invitation Chairman Hastings included the Northern Marianas as the third stop on the itinerary. In New Zealand and Australia we met with those countries’ leaders concerning the status of negotiations on the free-trade Trans-Pacific Partnership. We also looked at energy resources – the Maori-owned geothermal power station and the Atiamuri hydroelectric plant on New Zealand’s North Island, and in Australia, Conoco Philips’ LNG terminal outside of Darwin and BHP’s largely-automated coal port in Newcastle. At all our stops we discussed security issues, not only the realignment of U.S. forces to Australia and the Marianas, but also how to ensure supplies of food, energy, and strategically imp

Over 10 years, close to $10 million for FUDS clean-up
The Army Corps of Engineers has spent $9.5 million over the last ten years to clean up hazardous waste left behind by the U.S. military in the Northern Mariana Islands. Work on three of the formerly used defense sites — I’Denni, Tanapag Village PCB, and Kagman Airfield — is finished. There are nine remaining FUDS properties that have been identified, all on the island of Saipan: Marpi Point Field, Naftan Bomb Storage, Naftan Ordnance Disposal, North Field, Ordnance Plan, Talofofo Hospital Dump Site, Tanapag Fuel Farm, Koblerville Naval Supply Center, and American Memorial Park. Although the U.S. does the work, the Commonwealth’s Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality is responsible for oversight. Our local community also has a role in identifying problem areas and pressing for action, as the Tanapag Action Group did so effectively in the 1990s to force a clean-up of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in Tanapag. And in Congress, every year, I support funding the

Garapan Public Market is now open
Ribbon-cutting for the Garapan Public Market was Monday morning. Local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen will benefit by having a location to make their produce available all week. Families will have greater access to nutritious, homegrown foods. And our tourists will have one more destination where they can get a taste of island life. Funding for the Market came from a $200,000 earmark I added to U.S. Public Law 111-117 in 2009. That year was my first and last opportunity, because earmarks are now prohibited. But the Garapan Public Market shows what a powerful tool earmarks can be, especially for smaller communities like ours that otherwise must compete with states or big cities for grant funds. Congratulations to everyone at DLNR and in the farming and fishing communities, who helped bring the Garapan Public Market from a concept to reality.

Absentee ballots now available, voter registration ongoing
The Commonwealth Election Commission is now accepting absentee ballot requests for the November 4, 2014 General Election. Registered voters who will not be in the Northern Mariana Islands on November 4 or are physically unable to go to their polling place may vote by absentee ballot may download the Application for Absentee Voting from the CEC website or pick one up at the Commission office. Off-island applicants must mail, fax, or email the completed application form to CEC by Friday, October 10 in order to get a ballot. Walk-ins may submit their application any time up to November 3. First-time voters who intend to vote absentee must register to vote by September 5, should complete an Affidavit of Registration and the Affidavit Questionnaire, also available online. After your eligibility is approved, CEC will process your voter registration, and you will then be able to apply for an absentee ballot. Renewing voters, those who did not vote during the preceding two General Elections or

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