Guam – The first debates of this political season kicked off last night in Tumon.
The Guam Medical Association hosted this gubenatorial debate between the Calvo/Tenorio team and the Cruz/Espaldon team. They kept the decorum for the most part, there was at least one point where the debate did get rather heated here’s more. As in most political debates both teams used it as an opportunity to push their platforms. Both candidates kept their answers rather general except for a few ocassions, but probably the most interesting part of the debate was after moderator Patty Arroyo asked whether or not the candidates would support raising taxes on drinks containing high sugar contents. Senator Eddie Calvo, whose family owns a Pepsi distributorship, replied that he is against any additional taxes on the people of Guam and defended his families Pepsi distributorship. “At Pepsi we also sell water when I was there and some healthy wholesome juices and even when I was at Pepsi back then we focussed on healthy wholesome attitudes and that’s why our company when I was manager sponsored football teams, basketball teams, little league, cultural teams cultural dancers.,” he said.
Cruz then used this as an opportunity to stick the first major jab of this debate. A jab that he began with some rather questionable comments. “Selling a sugary drink or selling Pepsi to people on Guam is sort of like selling soy sauce to orientals. There is no challenge in that and to use the Pepsi model to run the government of Guam is wrong because I think that the Pepsi model is the profit model and the Government of Guam is here to provide services for the people not profit,” said Cruz.
Calvo responded to this statement by talking about how his administration would use the Pepsi business model to put the employees first. “You will never have a 32 hour workweek or furlough or notice given, you will not have Department of Corrections officers suing to get their overtime pay and you will not have nurses working twelve hours overtime over a year period becuase management is not concerned about them. Not in a Calvo/Tenorio administration,” said Calvo.
Cruz then responded by telling Calvo that the original question was related to healthcare. “I would challenge you. I would challenge you with one phonecall you could make a huge difference in the lives of our people call your father and your family and stop importing tobacco onto our island,” said Cruz.
It was now time for the next question but Calvo was compelled to respond by saying “I am so proud of my father. I have the best father and mother that a son could have I am blessed and I’m sure you agree with me I am sure you agree with me Lt. governor.”
For the most part the rest of the debate was rather tame as the teams focussed on driving home their platforms. Calvo spoke alot about how his administration would differ from Cruz and Cruz spent alot of time defending his administration.
“Tonight you may hear many things that my friend mike and I agree on but there is a difference we’ve never had this opportunity to lead in adelup,” said Calvo.
“By working together GMH received accreditation. Together we built four new schools and together we will ensure that Guam will be built up first in the last year even as we shrank the size of government the private sector has created nearly 2000 new jobs wages are up and unemployment is down. But our work is not done we must do more,” said Cruz.
In fact both candidates took credit for the accreditation of the hospital. “In the three years that I was finance chair when the administration in 2006 asked for four million from the hospital we gave them $17 million,” said Calvo. Cruz on the other hand said, “The joint commission accreditation at GMH is the crowning of achievement of the last four years,” adding, “We did it this way we picked a board that had no political boundaries those that didn’t support us those from the other party we broke down the barriers that existed between the legislature and the executive branch to ensure that GMH would get the resources and the supplies and the money that it needed.”
Both had the opportunity to speak about how they would handle the military buildup after debate moderator and K-57’s talk show host Patty Arroyo asked this question, “At this very moment tonight where do each stand on the military buildup and how do you think your personal experience will help lead the people of Guam? Please be specific, for example the controversy over the military firing range over Pagat what are your concerns and your stance on this military buildup and how it affects the people of Guam?” Calvo responded saying, “I’m for the military buildup, as long as it’s a guam buildup,” adding, “if there is to be a 15 billion dollar buildup on this island then it can’t only happen inside the gate it has to come outside.”
Cruz then spoke saying, “I too am for the Guam buildup. Better yet, I’m for building Guam up first, but it’s not just about increasing military presence on our island it’s about increasing economic opportunity and prosperity for all of us it’s about improving our quality of our life.” Cruz added, “I made it very clear to secretary Pfanenstiel that Pagat. The Pagat site is not just a plot of land it’s a symbol of our ancient culture it is a symbol of our natural environment and more important it is a symbol of our right to determine our future for ourselves.”
They were also asked how they felt about same sex civil unions or gay marriages. Cruz said, “I’m a man of faith and a practicing Christian I believe that marriage is a covenant and a covenant made before God and between one man and one woman but I also believe as a man of faith that we don’t judge others and it’s only god that judges alone.”
Calvo responded saying, “I will fight for the individual civil liberties for every single individual living on Guam but I also believe that the family unit is the most important signifigant foundation of a community and of a society and if it starts to blur then damage can be done to the community.” The next political debates are known as the great debates. They will be hosted by the University of Guam on the 2nd of September.