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Kilili thanks U.S. House members for campaign support

(Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) —  “As we come to the end of the election, I want to thank all of the other members of Congress who have contributed financially to my campaign for re-election,” U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said Thursday.

“Words are nice, but when other members are willing to give up their own hard-earned campaign money to help me out that means more than words.

“I am very grateful.”

 Over one hundred members of Congress have contributed to the Kilili for Congress campaign in this election. The contributions have come from members’ individual campaign accounts or through political action committees they belong to. In total members’ contributions to date are over $25,000.

“Asking for money is one of the most embarrassing aspects of being in Congress,” said Kilili. “Everyone needs money for advertising, to open campaign offices, to hire staff. But no one I know has ever said they like raising money. I know I do not.

“So, when other members volunteer to help me out, it is a very humbling experience.”

Among the members of Congress who donated are Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, who is expected to be the majority leader in the new, Democratic-majority House of Representatives. Hoyer has also given Kilili his verbal endorsement.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, incoming chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, is another contributor. “Ways and Means has responsibility for aspects of healthcare law, such as Medicare,” Congressman Sablan said. “I am already a cosponsor of legislation that would extend Medicare to cover not just the elderly, but all Americans — including the Marianas and other insular areas.

“There are also issues with the reimbursement rates for dialysis patients and others in rural areas like ours that Chairman Neal could help with.”

Rep. Frank Pallone, who will be the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is a supporter. Pallone’s Committee will be responsible for deciding whether the Marianas can get more state-like treatment under Medicaid, the federal program for those who cannot afford private health insurance. “Mr. Pallone’s staff is already working with the Territorial Medicaid Working Group that I put together on to address the Medicaid ‘cliff’ that all the insular areas face next year,” said Kilili. “It’s important to have him on our side.”

Immigration odds improve

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, is another Kilili supporter. “Zoe will chair the immigration subcommittee,” said Sablan. “So, she will have jurisdiction over my Northern Mariana Islands Workforce Stabilization Act, which is a way for long-term workers and investors to gain permanent status to live and work in the Marianas without needing CW or E-2C visas. I have been working towards that goal since my first days in Congress and I think the odds of success just went up after Tuesday’s election gave Democrats the majority in the House.”

Lofgren is a co-sponsor of Kilili’s status bill, H.R. 6578, along with 35 other members of Congress.

Other big supporters are the 31 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the 63 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus. The political action committees of both caucuses contributed $15,000 to Kilili for Congress.

“Both the Hispanic Caucus and the Asian Pacific Caucus will be growing their numbers after this week’s election,” Congressman Sablan noted. “More and more the Democratic majority looks like a reflection of whole America family with more women, more people of color, and people of various faiths.”

Other contributors include Reps. Jared Huffman, D-California, Barbara Lee, D-California, Grace Meng, D-New York, Grace Napolitano, D-California, Donald Norcross, D-New Jersey, and Linda Sanchez, D-California.

“I thank all my colleagues, who care about the people of the Marianas and want to continue working with me as a member of the Democratic majority in the 116th U.S. House of Representatives,” Sablan said.

Because of his ten years of service, the Sablan will be in line 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.