Guam – In one of her first major public speeches since taking office, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero laid out plans to address a looming skilled worker crisis.
The federal government recently added the Philippines to a list of countries ineligible for foreign worker visas. The change means only construction projects related to the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam would be allowed to hire contractors from the Philippines. Governor Leon Guerrero told Chamber members her administration will argue all construction activity, regardless of whether it’s funded by the military, is related to the buildup. Guam’s first elected Maga’haga called the strategy a strong case.
“The military personnel and their families stationed on Guam rent or buy homes off-base. They stay in our hotels. They patronize our restaurants and tourist attractions. They drive on our roads and use our infrastructure The morale, welfare, and recreation of our U.S. military personnel stationed here is directly tied to our economy–to that we can offer them off-base,” Leon Guerrero said, as justification for her argument. “
“We are gathering the evidence now, and we’ll make our case based on the numbers reflected in the economic downturn that is currently happening because of the H2-B (visa) denials.”
Governor Leon Guerrero also revealed that the Trump administration has committed to paying some $60 million in Earned Income Tax Credits, which thus far is an unfunded federal mandate. The Governor said she would follow up on this promise when she visits Washington, D.C. in February.