U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said he was uneasy about the credibility of Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios who has announced his independent gubernatorial candidacy with Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang as running mate.

“This is not to take anything away from the lt. governor,” Kilili said. But “for...three years, he’s been partners with Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres and as of today, they are still partners. For three years, he said nothing. It was only when Governor Torres decided to select someone else as his running mate [that Palacios] said something. That part bothers me. He was there for three years before he said anything.”

Kilili added, “Somebody told me this the other day, ‘What if Governor Torres chose [Palacios] to be his running mate? We would not be hearing these things. I mean, three years of silence is really deafening.’”

Palacios and Apatang said they will wage a collaborative campaign to reach out to voters from all parties.

Palacios said they were also considering the NMI Democratic Party’s invitation to participate in its gubernatorial nomination process.

On Friday, Congressman Kilili said he will run on the Democratic slate in the 2022 elections.

A former Democratic member of the CNMI House in the 1980s, Kilili ran for the U.S. Congress in 2008 and has sought reelection since then as an independent. In the U.S. House, he is aligned with the national Democrats.

Kilili on Friday said he will support all of the NMI Democratic Party’s candidates for public offices in the general elections next year.

“I will work with Democrats, the Democratic Party candidates, and work to support them, from the gubernatorial candidate all the way down to the mayors and the Legislature, and work together to fix our Commonwealth [and] bring some dignity back,” he added.

He said he wants the CNMI people to be able to take pride in their government.

“It’s no secret. It’s been out there, as sad, as disappointing, and as embarrassing as it may be. The corruption, the level of corruption that’s going on at the present time in the Commonwealth government is just unacceptable,” Kilili said.

“We need to face this matter and we need to address it in a much more forceful way. Our people need to understand that they pay for the cost of corruption. It is the people that pay for the cost of corruption. I’ve never seen this level of corruption. Enough is enough,” he added.

NMI Democratic Party chairperson Nola K. Hix thanked Sablan for his letter of intent.

“Thank you for joining us in this fight and adhering to our party’s process by submitting your letter of intent. Thank you for supporting your NMI Democrats and by officially announcing your intent to run as an NMI Democrat in 2022,” she said.

The party will officially announce its candidates for public office on CNMI Citizenship Day, which falls on Thursday, Nov. 4.

For more information, email nmidems.sm@gmail.com or call 670-484-DEMS (3367).

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