Leila Fleming Staffler is Tina Sablan’s running mate
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christina Sablan has chosen Representative Leila Fleming Staffler to be her running mate in the 2022 general election. A daughter of Tinian, and an educator by profession with a master’s degree in educational leadership, Staffler now represents Saipan’s Precinct 5 in the Northern Marianas House of Representatives. She was elected to the House in 2020, and chairs the Education Committee.
The Sablan-Staffler team breaks new ground in CNMI politics in more ways than one: Sablan is the first woman to run for governor, Staffler is the first person from Tinian to run for lieutenant governor, and for the first time in CNMI history, two women are running together for the top executive positions in government.
Sablan issued the following statement:
“Leila Fleming Staffler is a fresh face in politics, who brings a positive energy and collaborative spirit to her work in the legislature. She has already built a reputation as a listener and a bridge builder, often reaching across party lines to foster relationships and push legislation.
“Although she is relatively new in politics, Leila is a seasoned public servant and community leader. As a beloved teacher, counselor, and administrator, she has taught and mentored thousands of Marianas youth in her 20-year career in public education. She has long been, and continues to be, a passionate advocate for people with disabilities, and a champion for good governance and a safer, healthier community.
“Leila also brings many wonderful qualities to the team: she is honest, humble, intelligent, capable, and kind. She genuinely cares about people, and the wellbeing of the community. She understands the importance of education and health to the commonwealth’s long-term development, and that all our children deserve opportunities to thrive. She is committed to fairness and transparency in government.
“Leila will be a terrific lieutenant governor, and I am proud and honored to be running with her on the Democratic ticket for 2022.”
Sablan announced her selection of Staffler at a meeting of the NMI Democratic Party’s executive committee and elected members on January 19, 2022. Sablan noted that the decision was made following an extensive search process that included vetting and interviews of nominees by an advisory search committee, Sablan’s personal meetings with potential running mates, and consultations with members of the party, supporters, and other stakeholders. After a roundtable discussion, party members at the meeting voted by acclamation to endorse Staffler for lieutenant governor.
Staffler issued the following statement:
“I am deeply humbled and honored to accept the Democratic Party’s endorsement to stand as Lieutenant Governor with Tina Sablan in the 2022 general election. I am honored to be part of the first female tandem to run for the top leadership positions in our commonwealth.
“I have known and worked with Tina Sablan in different civic and community outreach initiatives over the past 15 years. And during this time she has consistently shared her vision of what good governance could be like in the Marianas, with the right leadership and direction: good governance means open and honest government, accountable leaders, sound and stable policies, and empowered citizens. These are principles that I also value, and Tina and I pledge to bring these principles to the highest seats in our CNMI government.
“Public trust and confidence in government can only be earned through transparency and accountability.
”Our people are hungry for innovative solutions and common-sense leadership. They want a fiscally responsible government that serves its people efficiently and effectively, without favor to special or personal interests. I have often heard people tell me that voters in the CNMI want new faces to step up to the challenge. Well, here we are. Good governance is on the ballot in 2022. Our people finally have a real choice and a chance to vote for a brighter, more hopeful future in the Marianas.”
Democratic Party of the NMI Chairwoman Nola Hix issued the following statement: “A new beginning is on the horizon. This announcement marks a new day for all of us – not just historically but there’s a lot of enthusiasm with the type of energy, and representation these two women have to offer. Tina and Leila are the role models we need with morals that continue to inspire all of us, and the future generations to come. This is leadership we can count on, and leadership we can trust. I share the excitement of the party and we will remind everyone that Tina and Leila’s success is the CNMI’s success. Yes we can CNMI! It’s time!”
The community is invited to attend the NMI Democratic Party’s gubernatorial campaign kick-off for Christina Sablan and Leila Staffler on January 26, 2022 at the Garapan Fishing Base, starting at 4:45pm. The event will be outdoors to permit physical distancing, and all attendees are asked to wear masks. The event will also be streamed online at the Democratic Party of the Northern Mariana Island’s Facebook page.