Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas touched on a wide number of other issues during his congressional address yesterday.
He cited his appointment as Vice-Chairman of the House Finance Committee, his firm support for the presence of the U.S. military on Guam, and the legislation he has introduced, including a bill to extend supplemental security income to Guam which he introduced on his first day in office.
The Congressman also called on island leaders to put the political disputes of the past year aside.
“I must confess that in my own humanity, my initial temptation was to use this day as an opportunity to engage the hostility that we have faced over the past year with equally veiled hostility. But we are not going to do that. Instead, we will begin by saying “Peace be with You,” San Nicolas said.
He added: “I urge everyone here to put aside partisan politics. Put aside personality politics. Put aside the politics of power and put into motion a massive opportunity that is ours to capture if we can just put the people of Guam first.”
However, the reaction to his speech was mixed, and many felt it was too long.
Senator Therese Terlaje said: “He mentioned Agent Orange. I think that’s very important, very timely right now, and that we all need to work together in that regard. And in regards to all of the work that we’re trying to do here and there.”
Sen. Telo Taitague was more critical. “For him to say let’s put politics aside was, here he was talking about only two people who made those efforts and he failed to recognize the Republican caucus that went to D.C. He failed to recognize the governor’s efforts, you know Josh Tenorio’s efforts. So, I mean, politics aside, I mean he says that, but then turns around and does something different,” Taitague said.
Sen. Mary Torres said: “It’s important though to understand that with a new congressman, of course, he’s trying to set his pace with his objectives in mind and his priorities and it was important to hear that. And I’m appreciative of his call out for unity and cohesiveness in this very highly politicized climate. So that, I think, was a very good take-away from all of this.”
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero also weighed in, saying after the speech that she had hoped to hear more about the impact the current conflicts in the Mideast are having on Guam Guard members who are deployed to the region.
“We hoped for an update on how this conflict might impact them,” said the governor in a statement following the address. “Guam did not get that,” she said.