At the urging of his supporters, former University of Guam President and Congressional Delegate Dr. Robert Underwood has decided to run for Congress.
Joined by his friends, family, and even his wife Nerissa through a video call as she stayed at home in quarantine, Underwood filed to run for Congress Tuesday morning at the Guam Election Commission.
Dr. Underwood will face fellow Democrat and incumbent Congressman Michael San Nicolas in the primary election in August where the winner will compete against Republican Guam Senator Wil Castro for the island’s seat in the November election.
During brief remarks after his filing, Dr. Underwood recounted many of the changes he made during the ten years he served in Congress, including establishing Guam’s war claims commission, funding the initial buildings at the National Guard Readiness Center, and ensuring Guam’s eligibility for domestic phone rates.
“In all of these activities and more, I never felt the need to chastise fellow Guam officials. I learned to work together, even with political competitors. Because the job in Washington D.C. requires a unified voice,” Underwood said.
Some of the reforms he plans to make, if elected, include expanding the local war claims program to accommodate those who weren’t included the first time and to be involved in more congressional committee work.
“The change I would like to make is to be actively engaged in committee work. Like, for example, in armed services. So that we can communicate with the military. We help them when they need help, but they help us! And then we can demand more from them,” Underwood said.
But the biggest change Underwood says he wants to make is coming to Guam regularly to hear the concerns of the island’s people.
“When I had my service in Washington D.C. – during my five terms – we counted them up. I had 77 village meetings over the course of ten years. That was – I felt- a responsibility I had. It’s my responsibility to communicate with people and it’s my responsibility to listen to people. That’s what I’m going to change,” Underwood said.
Congressman San Nicolas has not yet responded to a request for comment.