Guam – In response to Governor Calvo’s State of the Island Address, Majority Leader Senator Rory Respicio released the following statement:
MAJORITY LEADER RESPICIO TO GOVERNOR CALVO
On “State of the Island” Address
On The Guam First Commission… I am pleased that the Governor is moving to set up the Guam First Commission by executive order. I wish he had done this a year ago as I advocated, and maybe we could have avoided some of the perceived divisions he mentioned in his speech. Nevertheless, I’m glad that this is finally happening, and we are taking the first steps to bring all elements of the community together to finally speak as one community with one voice. I have always believed this is necessary to move the buildup forward.
On Federal Affairs…Until we have a definitive political status, we must do everything we can to improve the dependent situation we have with the federal government. We must continue to demand reimbursements for money we spend on the impact of compact citizens on our public
schools, hospital, housing and prison. Working to overturn the Jones Act could surely help expand our economy and put more money in the pockets of the people. As the federal affairs committee chair, I stand ready and willing to work with the governor on addressing these and other federal‐territorial issues outlined in his address.
On The Military Buildup… The buildup is a perfect example of a situation in which we were not proactive enough to leverage our interest for job growth, demands for justice, and other important issues, with the plans for the buildup. I am pleased the governor supports our Military Buildup Oversight Chair Senator Judi Guthertz because she has been pushing the legislature’s unified position reflected in various legislative resolutions.
On Government Finances… Although he touched on government finances, his plan to resolve the problems with the deficit and the debt was not entirely clear. While he mentions the legislature’s responsibility for approving bond financing, as the chief executive he has great authority and control over cash management within our government. Hopefully, we will see more debt reduction and responsible cash management plans when he submits his FY 2013 budget proposal.
On Hagåtña Restoration… I was relieved to learn that the governor finally answered our repeated calls to release the funds to the Guam Preservation Trust for the Historic Legislature Building. Now we can move forward with the planned redevelopment and restoration of this national historic site,
and hopefully with the restoration of our capitol. With oversight of the Plaza and the Capitol District, we support community events year ’round. I will support any initiatives the governor sends to the legislature to further revitalize Hagåtña.
On Education… It was nice to see the Governor reflect on the sentiments of our President. I could not agree more that education is the key solution to fighting poverty. In FY2012, the legislature provided millions more to DOE than the governor had requested. I hope the governor’s
prioritizing of education will be reflected in his FY2013 budget. I also hope the governor’s prioritizing of education will also mean he will follow the recommendation of the Public Auditor to release DOE’s 15% reserve.