By Troy Torres
The six independent members of the Commonwealth House of Representatives are running for re-election and all have the same goal: to improve the lives of all families by fighting and defeating corruption. Two of the minority members - Donald Manglona and Edmund Villagomez will continue to run as independents.
But the other four - Ed Propst, Sheila Babauta, Richard Lizama, and Tina Sablan - will be running as Democrats, according to a news release by Ms. Sablan today. Mr. Manglona will align with the party, but continue to run as an independent.
According to the news release, they "are committed to building the Democratic Party in the Northern Mariana Islands."
"The incumbent reps said the time is right to grow the Democratic Party, reestablish a two-party system in the Northern Marianas, and restore trust and accountability in the commonwealth government," according to the statement.
Here are excerpts from the news release:
Rep. Ed Propst: “If we want real change, then we need to change the one-party rule that we’ve become so used to over the past decades. Monopolies are never good for communities, whether in the form of casinos or political parties. I am running as a Democrat to break the one-party rule and to join a party that welcomes everyone and gives everyone a seat at the table.”
Rep. Sheila Babauta: “I believe that it is possible to create the CNMI we envision for ourselves for generations to come. The Democratic values of civic engagement, grassroots organization, and community empowerment are essential pieces to that very idea. The incumbent members who have chosen to run with the Democratic Party have demonstrated responsible leadership, hard work, and passion for our CNMI. This team brings me hope that we can truly rebuild trust in our government, hold one another accountable, and create meaningful and enforceable legislation toward a brighter CNMI.”
Rep. Richard Lizama: “The Democratic Party is the People’s Party, regardless of one’s gender, religion, ethnicity, or the color of one’s skin. My decision to run as a Democrat is because I believe in the two-party system. I am running in an organized party in this upcoming election to be a more influential advocate for my constituents and the people of the CNMI. It is also time to reenergize the party to prepare us for the 2022 general election.”
Rep. Donald Manglona: "As an Independent candidate, I will support all policies I feel would benefit the people of Rota and the entire CNMI. I have no doubt that my colleagues who will run under the Democratic Party will continue to push meaningful legislation while continuing to fight for the best interests of the people of the CNMI, and for that, I support their decision."
Rep. Tina Sablan: “We in the House Minority have always placed the interests of the people first, before personal or special interests. That’s what Democrats stand for. And, as Democrats we are committed to improving opportunities for working families, expanding investments in public education and healthcare, protecting the environment, and embracing diversity. We believe in building an economy that works for everyone - not only the rich, not only the politically connected, not only the few.”
To the citizens of the CNMI, Rep. Propst said: “We hope you will join us, because you are the change we’ve been waiting for.”
“If you are considering running for office, run with us,” Rep. Babauta urged. “Let’s create our CNMI, together.”
NMI Democratic Party Chairwoman Nola Kileleman Hix welcomed the incumbent House reps: “The CNMI has been under the same one-party rule for decades, and it is time for necessary change. The Democratic Party and its supporters are so proud that our incumbent legislators are here to help mold the party into what we all want it to be, by honoring its values and giving recognition to the critical role the young generation plays in our future development. We will work together to recruit candidates and elect leaders who will restore honesty, integrity, accountability, and respect for the rule of law in our CNMI government.”
Individuals who are interested in joining the Democratic Party or running as Democratic candidates may contact Chairwoman Nola Kileleman Hix at email@example.com or (670) 989-6652. The deadline to submit letters of intent to run as Democrats in the 2020 midterm election is June 20, 2020.