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  • By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Flores-Brooks quits OPA, eyes Congress seat

Public Auditor Doris Flores-Brooks on Wednesday announced her resignation from the post she has held for close to 20 years to enter the race for Congress.

“Opportunity only comes once in a lifetime and the door was knocking and I felt I need to take that opportunity,” Flores-Brooks said at a press conference.

"This journey is coming to a close sooner than expected. After much prayer and reflection I have decided to resign so that I can devote my time and energies to run for Congress," she said.

Flores-Brooks is the first Republican to announce candidacy for Congress. She is likely to pit herself against two potential Republican candidates, former Gov. Felix Camacho and Washington D.C. Resident representative Margaret in the August primary.

Camacho ran against Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo during a close fight in 2016. Bordallo won by a margin of only 3,000 votes, making Camacho her strongest challenger since her first election to Congress in 2003.

Although the former two-term governor has yet to announce his congressional bid, many expect him to return to the campaign trail.

Metcalfe, who lost to Camacho during the 2016 Republican primary, confirmed her intention to join the congressional race during a radio interview with NewsTalk K57 in April.

On the Democratic side, Bordallo is being challenged by Sen. Michael San Nicolas. Two others — Jonathan Diaz, running as a Republican, and one Eric Lin— have picked up election packet for the congressional seat from the Guam Election Commission.

Deadline for filing election papers is June 26.

Flores-Brook said she is ready for the new “journey.”

“Given my knowledge and experience in Guam’s finances, I feel that can better articulate Guam’s problems before the Congress,” she said.

Flores-Brooks’ last day in office is June 8. Deputy Public Auditor Yukari Hechanova will take over until the new public auditor is elected.

"It has been a wonderful and challenging journey into uncharted waters that I will always treasure," Flores-Brooks said, choking back tears.

Flores-Brook, Guam's first publicly elected public auditor and the first Chamorro CPA, is serving her fifth term at OPA. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

While lamenting that “accountability and transparency have been an expectation rather than a rule” in government, Flores-Brooks said she is leaving an office with“a fantastic management team and crew in place.”

OPA’s core team, she said, has a combined 40 years of experience at OPA.

She is concerned, however that three key managers-- Hechanova, Special Assitant Rodalyn Gerardo and Executive Secretary Llewelyn Terlaje-- who are in classified service are at risk of being removed from their posts once the new elected public auditor gets on board.

“While every public auditor should have the opportunity to build his or her management team,” Flores-Brooks said, “I hope and pray that it will not be at the expense of losing the institutional memory of the OPA.”

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