SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 3) - The mayor of Rota has chosen Saipan to announce the kick-off of Rota's local initiative campaign to legalize casino gambling for the First Senatorial District.

Rota Mayor Benjamin T. Manglona is inviting all interested parties to attend the kick-off event at the Saipan Mayor's conference room at 10:30 am, on Thursday, July 3, 2003. Representatives from the print media, television, and radio are most welcome.

"Our people are suffering," said Manglona. "We need options to create a better economy."

On a personal note, Manglona said that he does not like gambling but as an elected leader, he has to set aside personal preferences and do what is in the best interest of the entire community.

"Our economy is ailing. Our people are out of work. Businesses have failed. Our young people are losing hope for employment. We must create options and opportunities to protect the public welfare," said the mayor. "I think people in Rota are re-thinking the casino issue. This time around they may see the wisdom in the casino-resort concept."

Manglona said his administration used a broad-based group to draft a balanced casino initiative. "We asked for and received public comments. We have drafted a law that balances political prerogatives and gives the entire community both a meaningful voice in the administration and in the considerable benefit that can be created by gaming."

"Frankly, I'm hopeful and confident that casino will be approved," said the mayor. "I ask that all the people in Rota to 'march with me' toward a brighter future for our island."

Using the phrase 'march with me,' Manglona is urging his constituents to support him in this initiative that is seen as a precursor to new jobs, local government revenues, and community improvements.

"March with me for a better tomorrow for the next generation of Rota people," he said.

July 3, 2003

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