|Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives|
from the Northern Mariana Islands' at-large district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Pedro Tenorio (Resident Representative)|
|Born||January 19, 1955|
Saipan, Mariana Islands, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
|Political party||Independent (2008–2009; 2014–present)|
|Democratic (Before 2008; 2009–2014)|
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan / / (born January 19, 1955) is a Northern Mariana Islander politician and former election commissioner. Elected in 2008, Sablan became the first delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Elected as an independent, Sablan caucuses with the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives. In February 2009, Sablan became a Democrat. Sablan is the only Chamorro member of Congress. He was re-elected as a Democrat in the 2010 and 2012 elections and was re-elected as an independent in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
Early life and education
Sablan was born on Saipan, capital of the CNMI, on January 19, 1955. He was the only son of seven children. He grew up in an extended family, spending much time with his grandparents. His father was an employee of Bank of America. His uncle was the mayor of Saipan.
At the age of eleven, Sablan began boarding at Xavier High School, a Jesuit school in Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia, then administered by the United States. He then returned to Saipan, where he graduated from Marianas High School. At the age of sixteen, Sablan began attending the University of Guam before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley. However, he dropped out of college when his father lost his job. Upon returning to Saipan, Sablan married and had three children. He later attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa from 1989 until 1990, but did not graduate.
Early political career
Sablan served two terms in the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature from 1982 until 1986 as a Democrat. During his time in the legislature, he was selected as a special representative to hold talks with the United States Assistant Secretary of the Interior to negotiate federal assistance for the CNMI.
He retired from the Commonwealth Legislature to become Special Assistant to Daniel Inouye, a U.S. Senator from Hawaii, during the late 1980s. After this, he briefly returned to college before returning to the CNMI to serve as Special Assistant for Management and Budget in the administration of Froilan Tenorio (1994–98). He later served as a Special Assistant in the administration of Pedro P. Tenorio (1998–2002) before being appointed Executive Director of the Commonwealth Election Commission, a position in which he served until he filed to run for delegate.
Delegate to the House of Representatives
For 30 years, beginning in 1978, citizens of the CNMI elected a Resident Representative, commonly known as Washington representative, an office established by Article V of the Constitution of the Northern Mariana Islands for the purpose of representing the CNMI in the United States capital and performing related official duties established by CNMI law.
In 2008, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush, replaced the position of resident representative with a nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives. The other United States insular areas, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, as well as the District of Columbia, already had nonvoting delegates to Congress. The new position received the power to serve in congressional committees, to introduce bills, and to vote on proposed legislation in committee, but still had limited powers on the House floor, lacking the right to vote on legislation on the House floor.
The election of the first delegate was set for November 4, 2008. It was the only contest on the ballot, as local elections in the CNMI occurred in odd-numbered years through 2009 and residents of the CNMI do not have the right to vote in United States presidential elections.
Sitting Resident Representative Pedro A. Tenorio, a Republican, announced his candidacy for the new office. David Cing, a former member of the Northern Mariana Islands Senate, received the nomination of the Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Islands, which is not officially affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Seven independents also ran for the office, including Sablan. Although Sablan was traditionally affiliated with the Democratic Party, he chose to run as an independent.
In the CNMI's first federal election, fewer than 13,000 people registered to vote in the election, and 79 percent of those who registered voted in the election.
During the campaign, Sablan stated that as delegate, he would seek to bring more federal funding for education, more federal funding for health care, and federal funding for a more productive search for effective alternative energy sources to the CNMI. He also said that as delegate he will introduce and pursue passage of submerged lands legislation that would give the CNMI economic rights and regulation for submerged lands and waters out 200 miles from the islands. He also supports federal funding for a United States Coast Guard station in the CNMI, although one already exists in neighboring Guam.
Sablan was elected the CNMI's first delegate to the House of Representatives on November 4, 2008, receiving 2,474 votes, or 23% of the vote. He defeated Tenorio, who received 20%, by only 357 votes. Other close competitors included fellow independents John Gonzales, who received 18.73% of the vote, and Juan Lizama, who received 17.34%.
In a four-way race, Sablan received 4,896 votes (43%) defeating the Covenant Party's Joe Camacho (2,744), the Republican Party's former Governor Juan Babauta (1,978) and Democrat former Lieutenant Governor Jesus Borja (1,707) in the 2010 general election.
Sablan received 9,829 votes (80%) of the votes to Republican Ignacia T. Demapan's 2,503 votes in the November 2012 general election. Sablan is the first political candidate to record such a high winning total over an opponent.
Sablan won the November 2014 election with 65.3% of the vote, defeating Democratic candidate Andrew Sablan Salas.
Sablan successfully ran unopposed in the November 2016 election.
Service in the House of Representatives
Sablan assumed office on January 3, 2009, and was sworn in on January 6. Sablan decided to caucus with the Democratic Party. Several dignitaries from the Northern Mariana Islands attended Sablan's swearing-in-ceremony by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including Governor Benigno Fitial and his wife, First Lady Josie Fitial, as well as the outgoing CNMI Resident Representative in Washington, Pete Tenorio, whom Sablan defeated in the 2008 election.
On February 10, 2009, Sablan introduced submerged lands legislation which would give the CNMI "the same benefits in its submerged lands as Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have in their submerged lands." The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 416–0 on July 15, 2009 but stalled in the Senate.
Sablan has also introduced a bill which would provide for the establishment of Job Corps centers in U.S. territories and a bill which would authorize college tuition grants of up to $15,000 per year to graduates of CNMI high schools. The latter bill would also allow CNMI students to pay "in-state tuition" at any public college or university in the United States. Both bills stalled in the House.
As of September 2018, Sablan had sponsored two bills and cosponsored 37 that ultimately became law.
As delegate, Sablan has sought and often secured earmarks, energy grants, and other federal funding for projects in the CNMI. Much of this funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The ARRA did not include the CNMI in a 13.86% across-the-board increase in food stamp benefits nationally, but Sablan successfully lobbied Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to reprogram $1.459 million to give the Northern Marianas the same 13.86% increase as the rest of the country.
According to a report released by AOL News in July 2010, by the end of June 2010 (nine months into the US Government's fiscal year), Sablan had spent more money from his Members Representational Allowances on food than any other congressman with $23,457. Sablan claimed that the amount was used to refund staffers for various travel costs.
- Committee on Education and the Workforce
- Committee on Natural Resources (Vice Chair for Insular Affairs)
- Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Whip, Region II, Democratic Caucus
- American Citizens Abroad Caucus
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- Congressional Victim's Rights Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- National Marine Sanctuary Caucus
- Congressional Arts Caucus
- U.S.-Japan Caucus
- As pronounced in "A Message from Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan".
- Donato, Agnes (November 17, 2008). "Kilili to caucus with Democrats in US Congress". Saipan Tribune. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
- "Sablans, Gregorio Kilili Camacho, (1955-)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 15, 2009.
elected as an Independent to the One Hundred Eleventh Congress (January 3, 2009-present); changed from an Independent to a Democrat on February 23, 2009.
- "2010 election win". kpua.net. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
- Symes, Frances (November 10, 2008). "111th House Freshmen: Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, I-Northern Marianas (AL)". Congressional Quarterly. Archived from the original on November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
- Haidee V. Eugenio (November 5, 2008). "Fil-Am candidate in CNMI leads US delegate race". GMA News. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
- Donato, Agnes (January 3, 2009). "Island notables to attend Sablan's swearing in". Saipan Tribune. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Donato, Agnes E. (November 19, 2008). "Absentee votes confirm Kilili victory". Saipan Tribune. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- Official election results, 2008 Archived November 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "votecnmi.gov.mp". Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- "saipantribune.com". Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- "Commonwealth Election Commission - Election 2014 Results". Archived from the original on November 30, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
- "2016 Mid-Term Election Results – Certified Election Results". Commonwealth Election Commission. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "Commonwealth Election Commission - Election 2018 Results". Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
- "H.R.934 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)". congress.gov. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "Bill seeks 'in-state' tuition for NMI college students in the US". Marianas Variety News & Views. July 31, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- "H.R.3397 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)". congress.gov. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "H.R.3181 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)". congress.gov. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "Representative Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan". congress.gov. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- "Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan". Sablan.house.gov. June 2, 2009. Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
- "News & latest headlines from AOL". aol.com. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
- "Page not found- Saipan Tribune". saipantribune.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
- "Members". Committee on Veteran's Affairs. January 25, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
- "Committee Assignments | Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan". sablan.house.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
- "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Archived from the original on May 15, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
- Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan official U.S. House website
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Preceded by |
as Resident Representative of the Northern Mariana Islands
| Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives |
from the Northern Mariana Islands' at-large congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|Preceded by |
Eleanor Holmes Norton
| United States Delegates by seniority |