SAIPAN — The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House minority bloc has elected Rep. Angel Demapan as its leader.

In a joint statement, the CNMI House Republicans and their independent ally, Rep. Joseph Flores, said, due to the untimely passing of the former Republican leader, Ivan Blanco, they have unanimously elected Demapan to serve as the new House minority leader for the 22nd House of Representatives.

The other House Republicans are Reps. John Paul Sablan, Joel Camacho, Roy Ada, Patrick San Nicolas and Joseph Leepan Guerrero, as well as Vice Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao and House Floor Leader Ralph Yumul.

In a statement, Demapan said: "Our hearts are still heavy with the passing of our dear brother, Minority Leader Ivan A. Blanco, but we also recognize that he would've wanted us to continue the work he had begun as our minority leader."

"Today, I assume the role of minority leader with great humility and respect for the confidence of my colleagues. Indeed, Leader Blanco has left behind very big shoes to fill, and it is our commitment as the House minority to honor him by continuing his vision for a stronger and safer community," Demapan said.

"I have visited Speaker Edmund Villagomez to personally inform him of my election as House minority leader and extended my willingness to continue Leader Blanco's open and diplomatic line of communication," he added.

Demapan is serving his third term in the House of Representatives.

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