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House minority: ‘We respect Propst’s decision’

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MEMBERS of the House minority on Tuesday vowed to continue the work of House Minority Leader Edwin Propst who has resigned amid an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Although they are deeply saddened by his resignation from office, Reps. Tina Sablan, Edmund Villagomez, Sheila Babauta, Richard Lizama, and Donald Manglona said in a joint statement that they understand and respect his decision to prioritize his family and his health at this time.

Propst announced his resignation in a letter to Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao on Monday. His last day in office will be on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.  

“For the past six years, Rep. Propst has faithfully served Precinct 1 and our Commonwealth as a true and honest leader. He has given his all to help our people, and especially those in greatest need. We are grateful for his service,” Lizama said. 

Throughout his three terms, Propst has been “a champion for transparent and responsible government, and a strong voice against public corruption, political intimidation, and misuse of public funds.”

Propst “has inspired us and so many of our citizens to get involved in our community, to stay informed about the issues, and to speak up and do what's right, even when it’s difficult,” said Rep. Tina Sablan.

“Again and again, he has shown us all what it means to be courageous,” she added.

“It takes courage, too, to be honest about our limits, and to make necessary life changes in order to take care of our health and our families,” Babauta said.

“We know Rep. Propst has endured tremendous stress and made many personal sacrifices during his time in office. We respect his decision to take this time now to reset and refocus,” she added.

“We are confident that in time, Rep. Propst will once again find ways to help others and serve our community, as he always has,” Manglona said.

The House minority bloc members said they are committed to continuing the work that Propst began, including the investigation of the governor’s public expenditures. They also expressed hope that the special committee will regroup soon.   

“We will keep fighting the good fight Rep. Propst has led these past six years for the people we serve and the brighter future we envision. May God bless Rep. Propst and his family, and our Northern Mariana Islands,” Villagomez said.

Sen. Paul A. Manglona, the lone minority member in the Senate, said Propst’s resignation “comes as a great shock to all of us.”

“It’s a sad day for the people of the CNMI. This is perceived to be a result of a coordinated attack by the GOP. We all know that all these unsubstantiated accusations against the Congressman are being hurled amidst a Special Legislative Committee’s investigation of public corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse of public funds by Gov. Ralph Torres,” the senator said.

“We will soon find out that this hit job will backfire on the GOP this upcoming Nov. 3rd  election,” he added.

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