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WHITE SMOKE: Villagomez elected speaker; Attao: vice speaker; Yumul: floor leader

By Troy Torres

Republican Rep. Ralph Yumul crossed party lines on the fourth ballot for speaker, and voted for Edmund Villagomez. Mr. Villagomez, whom the Democrat caucus put forth for speaker, embraced his rival, Rep. Ivan Blanco, and was escorted to the dais, after receiving the 11 votes needed for the position.

Rep. Blas Jonathan Attao, a Republican, was elected vice speaker. Mr. Yumul was elected floor leader, defeating fellow Republican Angel Demapan.

"Our caucus has made it a priority to ensure that our membership reflects our community," Rep. Celina Roberto Babauta (D-Saipan) said. "We have some tough decisions ahead in the 22nd Legislature and the people are counting on us. We have a responsibility to rise to the challenge and together with Representative Edmund Villagomez, Representative Blas Jonathan Attao and Representative Ralph Yumul, I am certain we will do just that."
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