Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Breakfast With Chairwoman Donna Christensen and Crew

Washington Rep Pete A. Tenorio invited the House and Senate members to host a breakfast meeting with Chairwoman Donna Christensen and her entourage this morning. We were asked to arrive early so that the meeting could begin promptly at 7:30 a.m. I arrived a few minutes before 7:30 expecting a roomful of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed people. But, nope. Only the Speaker and a few lawmakers were there. This gave me a chance to get settled in, grab a hot cup of java and find a seat. I settled on a table with the House legal counsel and the lone representative from Rota, Rep. Chris Ogo, when I heard a slight commotion.

As I looked towards the door, I noticed that the DC contingency had arrived. I saw Speaker Oscar Babauta speaking with Chairwoman Donna Christensen. I walked over to them and waited for an appropriate moment to introduce myself. My initial impression of Chairwoman Christensen is that she's a serious woman who's here to do a job and she's going to make sure she gets the job done.

I gazed over at the rest of the staff who came in behind her. Some looked familiar; others didn't. I'd met some of them during their trip here a few months ago. I recalled meeting and sitting next to a very down-to-earth lady with a friendly face. She introduced herself as Anne Fischer. It turns out she is a JAG Navy Commander sent to escort the group then and now. I've always said that I could sense people's vibes and can tell within minutes of my meeting that person if we're going to be fast friends or mere acquaintances. Anne and I clicked right away. We chatted away over our bento lunches when we met months ago and we greeted each other warmly when we saw each other again this morning.

The next person I met was Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo of Guam. This was the first time we met, and I was surprised when she made mention of my being the "only woman" in the House of Representatives. I didn't expect her to notice, but she knew of this small piece of trivia. Congresswoman Bordallo greeted me with a warm hug and gave me the impression that she was happy to be in the CNMI. I picked up the same good vibes from her as I described above.

On my way back to my table, I ran into Senator Maria Frica Pangelinan. After chatting briefly, she and I decided to join Representative Arnold Palacios at a nearby table. As we sat chatting, Tony Babauta, the lead staff from Chairwoman Christensen's staff, came up to me and invited us to join their table. Seated at the table were Speaker Babauta, Chairwoman Christensen, and Congresswoman Bordallo. I took the seat right next to Congresswoman Bordallo, who was a delight to chat with.

Speaker Babauta gave his opening remarks and introduced all the House members. I always cringe a bit when he introduces me..."And, now, I'd like to introduce our one and only woman in the House, Representative Cinta Kaipat...." Yes, I'm the only woman out of 18 House members, but I don't want the extra attention. He made a few short remarks before turning the mike over to Senate President Joseph Mendiola.

Senator Mendiola introduced the Senate members who were present, and made the same fuss over Senator Maria Frica Pangelinan also being the lone woman in the Senate. Senator Mendiola spoke about the House Bill and the need to take into account what it would mean to overwhelm the Commonwealth with foreign workers and their dependents (spouse and child) which, by his estimation, could mean an influx of 40,000 people into the CNMI. I saw Chairwoman Christensen taking notes on her yellow notepad. After Senator Mendiola finished, they asked if anyone else had anything to say. I looked around, no one had their hand up, so I raised mine. I figured that this was going to be my only chance to say my piece in front of this group, so I may as well make the most of it.

I will tell you what I said in an upcoming post.

22 comments:

Marites said...

Hi Madam! good morning. I can tell your very busy today.

marianas life said...

how about sunday evening for dinner? tony romas

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Cinta,

I write to say how thrilled I am for your visit to my blog. How wonderful and thank you for your gesture of friendship. I feel honoured you have linked me here. I will do the same.

I will come back for a chat soon. Keep well my dear. Cheers.

Marites said...

Tomorrow is your special day madam and wish you all the best in life. God Bless you always.

Cheers for the Birthday celebrant!
SPECIAL HOLIDAY FOR THE BEAUTIFICATION BODIES OF REP. JACINTA KAIPAT.

Bev said...

thanks for sharing your experience Cinta! by the way, Happy Birthday! Hope to see you later =)

marianas life said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Silly Socrates said...

Silly Socrates wishes Cinta a happy birthday.

david santos said...

I come to congratulate you with your work and to desire a good Month to you of August in vacation. In Portugal already we walk for beaches and to live the heat of the Summer.

Lex said...

First off, HAPPY BELATED B-DAY!!! (if I'm late hehe). And I'd like to commend you on your post, always great reads. I can't wait for your next one :D

CNMI Blogger said...

My Dear Marites:
Your thoughful birthday wishes in the newspaper was an unexpected surprise. Thanks to you, I received many more birthday wishes than I probably would have gotten had this day gone about quietly. I'll have to think of a way to reciprocate -- perhaps a billboard for you on Beach Road or Isa Drive, eh? Heh! Heh! Heh! (I love this laugh which I borrowed from my new friend Ruby.) All joking aside, my dear friend, maraming salamat for your thoughtfulness. I love the birthday cards from the group also! Thank you for helping me celebrate my day last night. See you tomorrow. :)

CNMI Blogger said...

Marianas life Bree--
Thank you SO much for stopping by last night. You can sure sing some mean jazz! Tony Romas on Sunday it is. Please tell Litcelle I can't wait to see her and celebrate our birthdays together. Don't forget --I'll see you at the football field tomorrow morning, eh?

CNMI Blogger said...

Ruby, My Dear:
Thank you SO much for your kind words. It is my honor, indeed, to have you as a friend. I am really looking forward to getting to know you better. It is clear from the number of visitors to your blog that you are a very special lady who are loved for your intelligence, wit, and heart. I am honored to be your friend, indeed. Thank you for visiting my blog. Peace and love, sister.

CNMI Blogger said...

My Dear Bev:
Thanks for stopping by last night. It was so good to see you and EJ. I hope you will join us at the airport football field tomorrow at 10 a.m. to play some baseball, soccer, volleyball, or just plain hangin' around. I look forward to hanging out with you, Bev!

CNMI Blogger said...

Marianas Life,
Thanks for the birthday wishes!

CNMI Blogger said...

Silly Socrates,
Why thank you for the birthday wishes!
Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Peace!

CNMI Blogger said...

Dear David Santos,
Thank you for your most kind words and well wishes for my birthday wishes -- all the way from Portugal! Thank you for visiting my blog. Peace!

CNMI Blogger said...

Lex!
Always a joy to hear from you. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Actually, I like David Santos' well wishes and am celebrating my birthday all the way through the end of August, so you're not late. Heh! Heh! Heh!
Thanks also for the interest in the "behind-the-scenes reporting" on the breakfast with the Washington folks. I'll post the next segment as soon as I can. Our "puter" crashed, so that cut off my access to blogging at home. But the good news is -- the "puter" is now alive again.

Lex said...

Great to hear! Hopefully Gustofson bought a stornger vidcard hehe =)

Lewie Tenorio said...

...left me wanting for the rest of the story. So, what'd you say?

Lex said...

*drums fingers on table while refreshing Cinta's blog*

Hmm? Oh hi don't mind me, just browsing through ;)

Hope said...

Hi! This is hope. You can check out my new blog at www.hopegomez.blogspot.com. Thanks!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

OK. Time to update.

Tell the kids to get off the computer.