Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2019 12am







    Monday, June 17, 2019-9:22:44P.M.






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Delegate candidates square off in debate

MORE than 200 people watched the debate between independent U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan and his Republican opponent, Rep. Angel Aldan Demapan, at the multi-purpose center in Susupe on Thursday night.

Hosted by the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and Northern Marianas College, the debate was also livestreamed on Facebook and will be broadcast at a later date by KSPN-2 News.

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Rep. Angel A. Demapan, left, speaks while U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan listens during their debate at the multi-purpose center in Susupe on Thursday night.  Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

The chamber of commerce said it sold a total of 300 tickets for the event. The audience included CNMI officials, businesspersons, lawyers, teachers, lawmakers, students and other candidates for office, including Republican Gov. Ralph Torres and his independent opponent, former Gov. Juan N. Babauta.

Demapan and Sablan were given one minute each to answer 10 questions. They were asked about veterans, healthcare, food stamps and the workforce, among other issues.

 Francine, who declined to give her last name, said Sablan answered all the questions in detail.

“Kilili did better. He was very specific in his answers. He brought up specific bills and specific names. Angel was not specific. He was asked what could be done for the veterans in the CNMI, but his first response was about suicides. Kilili answered that he is trying to improve veterans’ access to healthcare.”

But another member of the audience who declined to be identified said, “Angel won the debate. And it wasn’t close.”

Businessman Shane Villanueva  commended both candidates, saying they were both prepared and the entire discussion was good.

But he also believes that Demapan won the debate as he answered all the questions well.

“Whoever wins the election must address our representation in the U.S. Congress. I think Angel is going to do that. I believe he will do a good job of representing us.”

Velma Palacios, the president of the chamber of commerce, said she was very pleased with the outcome of the debate.

“I am very happy everything went well and smoothly, and I thank the candidates for agreeing to do this today and their committees-to-elect for working together with us. This is a good opportunity for people to see their candidates and learn what their vision is for the CNMI and its people, including those off-island. .I was just informed by the interim president of NMC [Frankie Eliptico] that there were around 2,000 views online for the first hour of the debate so I am happy,” Palacios said.

Lannie Walker was the moderator of the debate.