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Antonio Soto resigns from Puerto Rico House of Representatives

Antonio Soto (New Progressive Party) resigned his seat in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on Feb. 28. Soto cited a need to take over his family’s businesses due to his parents’ advanced age as the reason for his resignation. 

“There are circumstances in life that make us make decisions and the family always comes first,” Soto said when announcing his resignation. “It is up to me to step forward and respond to them.”

Soto was first sworn in to the Puerto Rico House in 2013. He represented District 6, which includes Guaynabo, Cataño, and Bayamón, and served as the chair of the Finance Commission for the past four years. Soto recently won re-election to his House seat on November 3, 2020, for a term that was set to expire in January 2025. 

When a vacancy occurs in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives before the 15 months preceding the date of a general election, the governor must call a special election within 30 days. The election must occur no later than 90 days after the governor’s call, and the person elected will hold office for the rest of the unexpired term of his or her predecessor.

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Franklin Babauta appointed to Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives

On Nov. 11, Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph Torres appointed Franklin Babauta to the District 1 seat in the NMI House of Representatives. The seat had been vacant since October when former NMI House Minority Leader Edwin Propst resigned due to sexual misconduct allegations. 

The Northern Mariana Islands constitution requires that legislative vacancies that occur when less than half the term remains must be filled by the candidate who won the second-highest vote total in the most recent election. Babauta ran as an independent in the 2018 election, in which he placed seventh in a race for six seats. Babauta will serve out the remainder of Propst’s term, which ends in January 2021. He did not run for election to the seat in the general election on Nov. 3. 

The Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives is the lower house of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature. All 20 seats in the chamber were up for election on Nov. 3. Prior to the election, the Republican Party held a majority in the chamber.

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