Governor Arnold I. Palacios and Lt. Governor David M. Apatang today met with U.S. Congressman Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan to discuss a range of issues that included the financial challenges that the Commonwealth is facing.
“We talked about a number of items, and I was able to brief the Congressman on what we have discovered and continue to learn as we look deeper into the state of the CNMI Government’s finances,” Governor Palacios said.
“It was an open and candid conversation focused on how we can move the Commonwealth past the unprecedented challenges it is facing,” Governor Palacios added. “We will continue to ensure that our channels of communication remain open through this Administration.”
Their meeting also included a discussion on how federally-sourced resources can be strategically deployed or maximized to help the CNMI. Funding opportunities like the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) and other federal grant programs were also discussed. Additional issues, including ways that the tourism industry can be bolstered, were also considered.
To strengthen federal support, Congressman Kilili also recommended that Governor Palacios attend the upcoming U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing called by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. The annual hearing, called the State of the U.S. Territories, gives opportunities to governors from the five territories to provide highlights and discuss priorities items for the upcoming year.
The committee hearing is coordinated to occur around the National Governors’ Association winter meeting, which also includes the Interagency Group on Insular Area (IGIA) Senior Plenary Session.
In her recent letter to Governor Palacios, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Carmen Cantor also encouraged Governor Palacios to participate in the IGIA meeting.
“These meetings provide important opportunities to network with White House and ranking federal officials who possess valuable information and resources that may be helpful as you seek to address challenges in the CNMI during your new administration,” Cantor said.
“I look forward to continuing and strengthening this administration’s partnership with Congressman Sablan’s office,” Governor Palacios said.