OUTGOING CNMI GOVERNOR TO TEACH

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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 9) – Outgoing Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Juan N. Babauta says he will teach at Northern Marianas College starting this summer as a volunteer instructor.

"For now, one of things that I want to do is teach at the college and share some of the experiences I had as a legislator, as Washington representative and as governor," he told Variety. "Like everything else in life, there are ups and downs. Life is a rollercoaster. We win some and we lose some and we move forward."

Babauta, who won by a landslide in the 2001 elections, finished third in November, garnering only 26 percent of the votes cast.

He said he has already made arrangements with NMC President Tony V. Deleon Guerrero.

"I’ve visited and talked to the (college) president about teaching and he was very supportive," Babauta said. "We’re looking at probably this summer since the spring semester was already planned a long time ago…. It would be strictly a volunteer job. I want to teach one or maybe two courses in the evening."

Babauta, 52, has a bachelor of science degree in American History from Eastern New Mexico University, a masters degree in political science/American history from the same institution, and a masters degree in health planning/administration from the University of Cincinnati.

He said he will teach history and related subjects at NMC.

"Political science, maybe CNMI history and current issues — those are my passions in life," Babauta said when asked about the subjects he will teach.

Babauta said although he is officially retired from public service, he will continue to be visible in civic activities.

"I’m going to be here," he said.

Babauta was first elected as a Saipan senator in 1985.

In 1989, he was elected Washington representative, winning re-election in 1993 and 1997.

In 1993, he challenged then Gov. Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero in the GOP primary, but narrowly lost.

In 2000, he defeated then Lt. Gov. Jesus R. Sablan in the Republican Party primary and went on to win the 2001 general elections.

In the four-way gubernatorial race of 2001, Babauta received almost 45 percent of the total and had a 19 percentage point margin over his nearest rival, Speaker Benigno R. Fitial, the winner in the 2005 race.

"One of the things that I want to say to the people of the CNMI is how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve them. It is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," Babauta said.

He said he is still disappointed that he lost. "I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to continue the work that the lt. governor and I have laid out for the next four years. Continuing enhancement opportunities for our islands in terms of tourism industry, obviously a very important industry for the CNMI and a strong economy. I want to say that these last four years, the lt. governor and I tried to make a difference in the quality of life here in the CNMI."

January 9, 2006

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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