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Rep. Sheila Babauta: More diversity in House

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REELECTED Rep. Sheila Babauta on Monday said she is excited to have more women (five) and more Democrats (eight) in the 22nd House of Representatives, which has 20 seats.

The current House has three women members and four Democrats, one of whom resigned in October but was reelected this month — Edwin Propst.

“I’m really excited…that there’s a better representation for people,” Babauta said. “I’m excited about the diversity.”

First elected as an independent in 2018, Babauta won a second term as a Democrat in the 2020 midterm elections.

“This 21st [Legislature] was great. I made so many great friends. I’m really excited for the 22nd [Legislature],” she added.

She said the political arena is “really complex,” especially coming from a small community where everyone is related or connected in some way.

Relationships are like 95% of the arena, so maintaining relationships is really important, she added.

“I’ve learned that there are so many gaps. There’s so much work to do and you can’t do it all. One great piece of advice I got coming into my first term was to just set aside a list of priorities for your term,” she said.

For her first term, she focused on the Tanapag Youth Center, the Paupau Beach restroom renovation, and  the zoning map.

Two of her bills became law:

  • P.L. 21-36, to allow the Department of Finance to establish fees by regulation and allow for temporary business licenses; and
  • P.L. 21-32, to Authorize the Governor to Enter into Agreements to Offset the Commonwealth Judgment Liabilities against the Judgment Creditors Tax Liability.

“To me, that was an accomplishment…even though I thought [the process] would be faster, which is another thing that I learned…. Change takes time,” she said.

“I have to get comfortable with the idea of planting seeds and watering that, and just having faith that the positive change will come.

“I think we tend to focus on change that happens quickly and instantly, and we want to see that. But if we want to address the systemic issues and problems, we need to focus on the depth of our impact,” she said.

For her next term, Babauta said she will work on the zoning map with the Saipan Zoning Office.

The Tanapag Youth Center will still be a priority for Babauta who  will also look into a youth center for  San Roque while addressing cemetery issues that her Precinct 4 constituents have raised.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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