Officials react to Ridgell statements on military buildup

All construction projects are suspended starting the close of business Saturday, November 14, 2020, until further directive from the DPHSS. (File photo)

A number of officials have responded to Sen. Clint Ridgell’s recent statements citing the negative impacts of the military buildup.

His colleague in the 35th Guam Legislature, Sen. James Moylan, who has expressed his support for the buildup, said he remains firm in his position that there are many economic opportunities that the community can get from the buildup, including the potential of new jobs, creation of small businesses, an infusion of new tax revenues, and an increase in disposable spending.

“As with any major change, there is always the anticipation of resistance, and for that, I respect the various thoughts and opinions on the issue. Further, my office looks forward to working with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as community groups to assure that this buildup is conducted in a responsible and beneficial manner,” Moylan said.

He added: “We may not all agree with the military relocation in general, and the government must certainly do its part in addressing the potential social impacts associated with any change. However, at the end of the day, unless the federal government chooses to halt the construction, the buildup continues.”

Congressman Michael San Nicolas also released a statement on his Facebook page, saying that although he agrees that the island’s low-income residents may be adversely affected, this is not a risk unique only to the military buildup.

“Anytime, you have a multi-billion dollar investment in a small community like ours that is going to see a 5,000-plus workforce and family increase, these exact same risks will present themselves. The question is how do we mitigate these risks so that the outcome is best managed, and as many of our people as possible benefit? That is the leadership challenge,” San Nicolas said.

He added that the buildup will bring along with it not only buildup-related jobs but new private sector jobs as well.

The congressman said there will also be new tax revenues in Section 30 funds as well as corporate and income taxes which can be used to fix and upgrade the island’s education, health, and public safety agencies.