Republican Party Platform Includes Provisions That Could Benefit CNMI, Guam, Am. Samoa

Territories, commonwealth should be exempt from laws that hurt economies: GOP

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 22, 2016) – The national Republican Party platform includes a pledge to allow the territories to grow their economies by exempting them from federal laws that increase costs in the islands.

The national GOP platform can be viewed here.

Press Secretary Ivan Blanco, who is a member of the NMI delegation to the Republican National Convention that started on Monday in Cleveland is also a member of the national GOP platform committee.

It’s the third time that NMI Republicans have sent a delegation to the RNC, Blanco told Variety in an email on Wednesday night.

He said Gov. Ralph Torres, and the other Northern Marianas delegates “are pleased that language favorable to the CNMI was unanimously adopted as part of the Republican Party platform.”

According to the GOP platform:

“Throughout the history of our nation, the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico has often gone unacknowledged.

“Year after year, the citizens quietly, without fanfare, send their sons and daughters into the U.S. armed services. We honor the extraordinary sacrifices of the men and women of the territories who protect our freedom through their service in the U.S. armed forces. Geographically, the territories and commonwealths, especially those in the Pacific, are of vital importance to our national security as the outermost line of defense and gateway to America against potential encroachment by foreign powers. We welcome their greater participation in all aspects of the political process and affirm their right to seek the full extension of the Constitution with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.

“We recognize the challenges facing all the U.S. territories in an era of dramatic global economic change. They need venture capital to retain existing industries and develop new ones. A stronger private sector can reduce dependence on public employment and lead toward self-sufficiency. Their development of local energy options will be crucial to reduce dependence on costly imported fuel.

“The territories’ economic stability and potential for growth must be considered in any trade agreements between the United States and other Pacific nations. They should be given flexibility or exemption from laws that increase costs for their populations, such as the minimum wage and the Jones Act concerning shipping. All unreasonable impediments to their prosperity should be removed, including unreasonable U.S. customs practices.

“We call for the appointment of a commonwealth and territories advisory committee consisting of representatives from all five U.S. territories. The committee will be integrated into the president’s transition team and be tasked with performing a holistic review of all federal regulations affecting the territories and commonwealths. We further call for the appointment of a special assistant to the president responsible for day-to-day interaction with the territories and commonwealths. This position will be the direct connection for the Office of Insular Affairs, the citizens of the territories and commonwealths, and the White House.”

In a statement, Governor Torres said: “While I continue to take on issues at the local level, I am also making sure that the CNMI is included in the national dialogue because many of our issues are unique to our islands and often, decisions on the national level inadvertently affect our environment, our economy, and our rights under our Covenant.”

With regard to the immigration system, this is what the GOP platform has to say:

“America’s immigration policy must serve the national interest of the United States, and the interests of American workers must be protected over the claims of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs. With all our fellow citizens, we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation.”

Besides Torres and Blanco, the other members of the commonwealth delegation to the RNC are NMI GOP President James Ada, Committeewoman Virginia Villagomez, Committeeman Bo Palacios, Rep. Angel Demapan, Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, Sen. Jude Hofschneider, former Rep. John Reyes, Diego C. Blanco, Rep. John Paul Sablan, attorney Robert J. O’Connor and Anthony A. Camacho.

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