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  • Pacific Island Times Staff

New leadership set to sail into Yap

Unofficial results likely bad news for Chinese developers; Falan-Salalu team tops incumbents after long count

Colonia, Yap--Word went out from the Yap State Election Commissioner’s office in the afternoon on Wed., Nov. 21, notifying the tabulation team to meet at the Small Business Development Center conference room the following evening at 7 p.m. The final ballot boxes were due to arrive from the Outer Islands by ship after 16 days of impatient waiting by the citizens of the small island and its far-flung communities. The ballots for the main island had been counted and the unofficial tally published the day after the Nov. 6 election. Now, with all of the votes counted, they would finally know who won the hotly contested race for governor and lieutenant governor and the ten senatorial positions.

As the tabulation team worked, the results began to come in over the radio at 8:30 p.m. on Thurs. Nov. 22 and concluded past midnight. The tally, which is not yet certified, was 2,222 votes for the team of Henry S. Falan and Jesse John Salalu versus 2,074 for the incumbent governor, Tony Ganngiyan, and his running mate, Francis Itimai. Upon certification, Falan and Salalu will become the state’s leaders when they take the oath of office on Jan. 14, 2019.

In his long career as a public servant, Falan participated in the early development of the country and the state when he served in the 22-member Yap District Legislature beginning in 1977. During that time, he was a member of the Yap District Chartering Commission and co-authored the bill that set up the state government. After leaving the YDL, he served in various positions with the state and national governments including opening the first FSM Student Services office in Guam in 1980. He then served as Director of Yap’s Department of Education from 1996 to 2004 where he was known as an innovative leader. Elected to the Yap State Legislature in 2007, Falan served as Speaker of the YSL during the 8th Legislature from 2011 to 2014.

Salalu spent more than 30 years in education as a teacher, principal and administrator and currently serves as the Yap State representative on the College of Micronesia-FSM Board of Regents.

The winning team’s platform pledged “collaboration, participation, transparency, responsiveness, consensus, accountability and the rule of law” as the “cornerstones of that vision for our administration.” They advocated “that our island must not rely solely on others for our future. That does not mean we are against development. Quite the opposite. But development must be planned strategically, not as a response to ‘fear’ about what ‘could’ happen in 2023 when revenue provided through COFA is reduced due to the switch from a grant-based system to income from the trust fund. We pledge to work with you and for you to calm those unjustified fears, help lead the way through them, and not allow the politics of fear to take advantage of the many by giving away our island and our inalienable rights to a foreign power.”


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