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NMI Democratic Party says people of Precinct 1 ‘underrepresented’

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(MV) — The NMI Democratic Party issued the following statement on Thursday:

 “The CNMI Constitution    provides   that   there   shall   be   six   house   representatives     m Election     Precinct     I.  Until     such    time    that    the    census     enumeration      requires reapportionment,   then   the  people   in  Election   Precinct   I   are   legally   entitled   to  be represented  by six  representatives.

“Right  now,  the people  of Election  Precinct  I are underrepresented    due to the resignation of their  duly elected  Rep.   Ed Propst.  The Constitution   also  provides  a simple process  for filling  the remaining  unexpired  term of Representative   Propst.   That process is described  in Article  II, Section  9.

“In  February   2013  the  House   of  Representatives    passed   a  Resolution   containing    16 articles   of  impeachment   against  Gov.   Benigno   R.  Fitial.  Three  of  the  articles  of impeachment   related   to  the  dereliction    or  neglect   of  his  duty  in  not  appointing   the complete   membership   of  the  Public   Utility   Commission    and  the  Civil   Service Commission,     and   the   failure   to   transmit    a  nomination    for   chief   justice    of   the Commonwealth   Supreme  Court  for consideration   and confirmation   by the Senate.

“If  the     House   of  Representatives     considers    dereliction    or  neglect    of  duty   as   an impeachable   offense,  then   the Governor  should  be held  ‘impeachably’   accountable   for not  acting    to appoint  a new  member  of the  House  under  the  provisions   of Article  II, Section    9,   so   that   the   people    of   Election    Precinct    I   can   be   adequately     and constitutionally   represented.

“It is  a travesty  of justice  when  our citizens'   rights  are held  in abeyance  due to political pandering   and  gamesmanship.    In  failing  to  act  in  accordance   with  the  provisions    of Article  II,  Section  9 of our  Constitution,    the  Governor  has  undermined   the  integrity  of his office,  and has betrayed  the trust of those  he swore to serve,  to the manifest  injury  of the people  of Election  Precinct  I.”

30 days

Asked for comment, the administration said:

“The Office of the Governor received the official communication from the Speaker officially declaring the legislative vacancy for Precinct 1 in the House of Representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. In line with Article II, Section 9 of the CNMI Constitution and with respect for the separation of powers between two equal branches of government, the Governor respectfully waited for a vacancy to be officially declared by the Speaker of the House before acting on the appointment. Moreover, in line with 1 CMC § 6502 and historical precedent with other Legislative vacancies, the Governor has 30 days from the date of the declared vacancy to appoint the unsuccessful candidate for the office.

“It has only been three days since the Governor officially received the letter, and the Democratic Party calls this a dereliction of duties? Over the course of the last three days, the Governor and Lt. Governor conducted their constitutional duties as actual elected officials by signing an agreement that reopens the Marianas Motocross Park for our racing community, unveiling the first fully equipped Alternate Care Site in the Pacific to mitigate against surges of Covid-19 cases, and handing over new federally funded vehicles to the Department of Public Safety for traffic control and patrolling to keep our villages safe.

“This press release from the Democratic Party underscores several things. It is apparent that the sole focus of their party is to impeach a Governor they do not like, just because he is not a part of their party. They choose to spend their energy writing a politically charged half-page press release on the last Friday before Election Day rather than to present a clear platform of what they would do for the people.

“The people of the CNMI deserve so much better than rhetoric that doesn't provide actual solutions to the global challenges affecting our community. While the Democrats continue to divide and mislead the Marianas, Governor Torres, Lt. Governor Palacios, and the Republican leadership of the Legislature will continue to do the work they have done to keep our islands the safest place in the U.S. from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Republican Party has provided an actual platform that protects people's health, rebuilds our economy, safely brings back tourism through a travel bubble concept, rebuilds homes, provides jobs for our residents with the increase in federal funding awarded to this administration because of diligent planning and partnership with the White House, and bring our islands back to where it was before the 2018 typhoon season.

“The Democratic Party can go ahead and choose to continue their political pandering and gamesmanship with their words and rhetoric without providing solutions. Governor Torres, Lt. Governor Palacios, and the Republican Party will continue to let their proactive action speak for itself and provide actual solutions to the global problems affecting our islands.”

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