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Propst to NMC students: Don’t be afraid to ask questions

REPRESENTATIVE Edwin Propst encouraged students at Northern Marianas College to be inquisitive and never be afraid to ask questions.

“There are no stupid questions — just stupid answers. If there is something that you really want to find out, ask,” he told the students in NMC instructor Guadalupe Borja-Robinson’s Current Issues class on Wednesday.

Propst talked about the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the casino industry, drugs and crime.

“The students are very aware of all kinds of issues. They have great and thought-provoking questions,” he said in an interview.

Propst told the students to be citizens of compassion.

Regarding the illegal foreign workers who arrived here as “tourists,” he said: “We have to look after them. We have to make sure they are being fed, that they have shelter. We have to make sure that their rights as workers are not violated.”

He criticized the Saipan casino investor, Imperial Pacific, for being lax in dealing with its contractors. “How can a multi-billion company not hire someone to do a background check on contractors they are dealing with?”

He reiterated the need for a legislative oversight hearing to determine whether Imperial Pacific International is complying with labor regulations.

He also supports the enactment of a law imposing an additional tax on the casino investor to provide additional funding for schools, community services and the campaign against drugs and crime.

He told students that fighting drugs is not the government’s responsibility alone.

Rep. Edwin Propst speaks with NMC students about current issues on Wednesday. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

“You can do something about it. If any of your friends or relatives are into drugs tell them to get help. Help them get some help. And stay away from people who use drugs,” he said.

Some students believe that their concerns are likely to be ignored because they are just students.

But according to Propst, “There is power in your voice. I believe that the people always have the greatest power. The people, which is you, elect our leaders. Ask them questions. Voice your opinions with people who agree with you.”

He said the CNMI “needs young minds with fresh ideas.”

Besides running for public office, he said concerned citizens can volunteer, clean the beaches, coach baseball and be active in other community events and services.

At NMC, Current Issues is a subject taken by graduating students.

“They call it a capstone course. It’s an exit course and everybody has to take the class,” instructor Guadalupe Borja-Robinson said in an interview.

In her class, she said they invite government officials, community leaders and others who have first-hand knowledge about current issues.

“The students get to ask questions from people who can provide different perspectives on the issues,” she said in an interview.

She said a dialogue with leaders is the best way to engage the students regarding the issues.

“The aim of the class is to help young people to be more aware of the issues facing the commonwealth. The more they are aware of the issues, the better informed they will be. These are the future leaders of the commonwealth. I hope this class will help them become better citizens too.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/94740-propst-to-nmc-students-don-t-be-afraid-to-ask-questions

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