11 Jan 2017
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
GOVERNOR Ralph Torres is very optimistic about the new leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and is confident that with his fellow Republicans in control of the Legislature, the CNMI will continue to head in the right direction.
“But I also have a good working relationship with the minority bloc, and I welcome and congratulate all the new members as well as the re-elected incumbents — we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” the governor said in an interview on Monday during the inauguration of the 20th Legislature.
“We will continue to work together, set aside politics and do what we believe is right for the people of the CNMI. We have a lot of work that we have already accomplished, but we have a lot that still needs to be done as we move forward together.”
Torres expects a smooth, working relationship with the 20th Legislature not only because of the GOP’s super majorities in both chambers, but because he believes he has a good working relationship with the minority group which consists of five members in the 20-seat House and one member in the nine-seat Senate.
“There was no animosity before or during the campaign. We’ve always been very respectful, and my door is always open to the minority members so whatever the issues that we have before us, I’m more than happy and willing to sit down with them as we have done in the past.”
He said one of the main issues is funding for land compensation and court judgments.
“That’s not only my administration’s issue — it’s the CNMI’s issue, so in order for us to move forward, we need to remove those liabilities and we need to work with each other. I identify the resources and lawmakers appropriate those resources. So it’s a working partnership.”
He said with the Legislature working side by side with the administration, the public can expect more payment of government obligations including land compensation.
“We can now start having guidelines on how to pay land compensation, and we will move forward as fairly as we can,” he added.