Guam – Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. officially launched his gubernatorial campaign, while also announcing his running mate, David M. Cruz, during a campaign kick off over the weekend. Cruz is an educator and retired Air Force Colonel who currently leads the Air Force JROTC Program at JFK High School.
Troy Torres, staffer for Sen. Rodriguez says Col. Cruz took a demotion from his job to be able to run for office, going from a classified to unclassified position under a personnel services contract. In other words, he took a voluntary demotion to be able to run for office—something that hasn’t been done before.
The personnel change would have also required approval by Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez, who confirmed on News Talk K57 this morning that although Col. Cruz is so far the only instructor who’s taken a demotion from classified to unclassified, going forward all instructors will be hired under contract. Fernandez added that the half salaries for the JROTC instructors are reimbursed by the Department of Defense.
Staffing patterns for GDOE show that in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, Cruz was making a salary of $197,263 base and $259,660 with benefits. Then, in the fourth quarter of FY17, his salary was listed at $120,445 base and $166,841 with benefits.
Torres, on News Talk K57 with host Patti Arroyo, revealed that Cruz was threatened by a high level person not to run for lieutenant governor and that they are now planning to file a complaint with the Guam Election Commission under the Mini Hatch Act.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez had already confirmed his intentions to run for office and Cruz had long been rumored to be his running mate. The four-term Democrat senator said he chose Cruz specifically for his lack of political experience.
He said he wanted someone with three specific qualities: one who could run the government while he were absent, one with an education background and someone who wasn’t a politician. If elected, Cruz will be the first teacher to serve in Adelup.
The Democrat Team of Rodriguez-Cruz is now the fourth democratic team vying for Adelup, the other three are the gubernatorial teams of Leon Guerrero-Tenorio, Aguon-Limtiaco and Gutierrez-Bordallo. There’s only one set of candidates on the Republican ticket so far: Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio and Tony Ada.