Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Official! Cinta Kaipat to run for Senate

Cinta Kaipat to run for Senate
Friday, 15 May 2009 00:00 By Zaldy Dandan - Variety Editor
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LABOR Deputy Secretary Jacinta M. Kaipat yesterday said she is running for the Senate on the Covenant Party ticket to continue making a difference in solving the larger issues facing the community.

An environmental advocate, the former House member is also known as a strong proponent of more local participation in the private sector’s workforce.

Kaipat promises to “bring people together.”

“I believe that our people will work together to make our collective lives better and better. I founded Beautify CNMI! on that principle. In the Beautify CNMI! efforts, we welcome everyone’s efforts and we organize to pursue a common goal. We need to focus more on our common goals and the common good. Dividing people is not the answer. Bringing them together is a better solution. I believe I can do that.”

She said she will focus on specific big problems and get them solved.

“I like to work through broad participation. When I was in the 15th Legislature, I held hearings, formed joint public-private task forces to come up with acceptable legislative language, worked with my fellow legislators to get agreement, and got important legislation passed. I particularly want to focus on health care. Affordable, quality health care is a problem that affects all our people. We need to confront our limitations, be creative in our solutions, and above all, be responsible in what we can afford. But we cannot just let this current situation go on and on. Health care crises tend to be individual problems for individual people who are sick and individual families who have to care for loved ones. But our whole community is harmed when we cannot provide the quality health care, and especially preventive health care, that everyone needs.”

Kaipat at the same time said the CNMI must also “face up to some basic realities in our situation…and come to terms with it in ways that allow our citizens to live comfortably on our islands.”

“I want to work on alternative power for individuals as one aspect of this. I think that ‘big power’ is necessary; but that ‘small power’ has great potential for us. I want small wind energy and small solar energy for individuals so that residences and small businesses can have their own source of power without having to pay [Commonwealth Utilities Corp.] rates for all their power. I think we can help finance ‘small power’ for individuals because the payback is there — everyone uses power — and the benefits are clear.”

The CNMI, she added, must “look ahead to our future and capitalize on some of the changes that are happening out there in the world. Although we are small and isolated geographically, we are a part of the world through the Internet. We can conduct commerce efficiently, even within our islands, on the Internet. We can help expand our education system by tapping far-away institutions and capabilities through the Internet. And we can expand our personal horizons as well. I want to bring the Internet to everyone who wants it. I want to explore ways to support Internet access for everyone.”

Her plan includes training everyone who wants to participate with free classes in how to benefit from the Internet.

“We need to get more computers into our classrooms and schools, and use more of the on-line resources to augment the education we provide for our kids, particularly in the specialized subjects in which we can’t always provide instruction in person.”

A law graduate, Kaipat described herself as a fiscal conservative.

“I don’t believe in spending money we don’t have. That never works in the long run. I believe we should have a required budget analysis attached to every bill that is introduced in the Legislature. How much is this measure expected to cost if it is enacted? Is this cost already built into the next year’s budget? If not, where will the funds come from? Everything the Legislature does affects the allocation of our scarce resources. We cannot kid ourselves — nothing is really for free. So we should have a system that requires everyone to declare and debate, up front, what a proposed legislative measure will cost, no matter what topic that bill covers.”

She said everything the Legislature does has to be done while keeping an eye on the effect on jobs.

“Jobs for our U.S. citizens is the primary factor that drives our economy. That is clear from all the professional economic reports on our current situation. When we grant incentives, we need to ask how many jobs will be created. When we work on taxes, we need to ask how will this affect jobs. When we issue permits to foreign investors, we need to ask how many citizens will be employed. When we place burdens on local businesses, we need to ask whether jobs will be affected. The Legislature needs to get useful and factual reports on these things and to hold hearings to hear from the public if the numbers seem to be wrong. We must make progress on jobs — real, verifiable, productive jobs accounted for one by one if necessary — over the next four years.”

Asked why the people should vote for her, Kaipat replied: “I humbly ask for everyone’s vote because I care deeply about the people and the future of our islands. I will use my education and work experiences gained from working abroad in the United States as well as here in the commonwealth to continue serving our communities to the best of my abilities. I am dedicated and take my job seriously, no matter what the job is. I never forget who I am supposed to represent and work for. And, I’m a doer; I get the job done. As a lawmaker in the 15th Legislature, I succeeded in getting important pieces of legislation passed and signed into law. And, finally, I pledge my full commitment to my family and to the people of our commonwealth that I will neither embarrass nor betray your trust in me.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gus Left for San Francisco This Morning

He's off with his uke to work with the composer hired to work on the music for the PBS documentary film that we've been collaborating on with Horse Opera Productions. He will be performing at the screening of the documentary at California State University.

As they say in show biz, "Break a Leg", Gus!

Pete & Emma Were Here!

Gus and I went to dinner with Pete and Emma Perez, who were on island for a short few days to visit and scuba dive. Pete and Emma live in San Francisco and it was a real treat to have them here. (Pete co-founded PaganWatch with me. PaganWatch is a citizens' watchdog group that diligently exposed the shenanigans that led to the dissolution of MPLA by the Legislature in 2006!)

Anyhow, we went to Abyss for dinner Friday night and we all agreed that the food was excellent. (Thanks to my WOW sis Laurie Peterka for the restaurant suggestion.) We had one and a half orders of mixed sushi, two orders of special shashimi, an order of otopus kelaguin, and an order of garlic octupus. Well, that garlic octopus was SO good that we couldn't resist ordering two more dishes! Yes, that's three orders of garlic octopus! Yummy! Yummy! Yum!

Great great company, great conversation, great garlic octopus, what more could anyone ask for?

[I'll have to upload photos later because the computer is too slow tonight!)

2009 Flame Tree Arts Festival

This year's Flame Tree Arts Festival concluded and, unfortunately, I didn't take any photographs because I was waiting for the battery charger I ordered for my camera to arrive, but the charger arrived too late.

One of the highlights of the Festival for the family was seeing Gus and the young Kaipat kids perform. Gus did a couple numbers, followed by (L-R) Jun, Aj, and Dusty. This was the second time Jun performed at the Flame Tree Arts Festival. Last year, he performed with Gus, though he only played the uke. This year, he got to sing.

The three were joined on stage by Kadie and Josiah (who stood between Jun and AJ). So, with the exception of Jun, all the kids (Kadie, Aj, Josiah, and Dusty) made their performance debutes at the Festival.

Speaking of debutes, we also had TJ operating the camera. He'd never done that before and was pressed into service that day because his Uncle Gus did not bring the tri-pod and, well, consider yourself forewarned. Heh! Heh!

After the kids' numbers, Uncle Gus joined them for one final number. Poor Uncle Gus, he was supposed to grab the uke from Josiah, but Josiah would not surrender the uke to him, so Uncle Gus had to go on with the show and sang while the kids played. Heh! Heh! We had a pretty good laugh about this aftewards.

All in all, everyone had a great time.

Okay, still want to see that video? Again, sorry for the camera work. :)

See you all next year!

Speaking of Olomwaay, someone posted this on Youtube (thanks for sharing!). This was when Olomwaay opened for Jake Shimabukuro at last year's fundraising concert that he held for Beautify CNMI! and HANMI. Gus (in the blue t-shirt in the middle of the red t-shirts) sings lead, backed by Dee Saures, Cris Kaipat, Ben Limes, and Miki Lisua on vocals.