Guam – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and her challenger Senator Frank Blas Jr. squared off last night at the 2012 Guam Medical Association congressional debate. The Congresswoman began with an aggressive introduction.
“My opponent has riled up the momma bear in me. I don’t mind having a debate on the issues and differing opinions but you aren’t entitled to inventing your own facts my opponents said Guam was left out of the farm bill that’s just plain wrong the fact is that local farmers did in fact benefit from these subsidies but it was republicans that wanted to remove them. My opponent said I was a failure for leaving Guam out of the Korea free trade agreement that’s just plain wrong.”
Congresswoman Bordallo says that Guam and other territories including Puerto Rico are not a part of the Korea free trade agreement because we are in our own custom zone.
Senator Frank Blas Jr. defended his criticism of the congresswoman. “Our people deserve to hear how we’ve been represented in Washington and given explanations for some of the decisions that have hurt us more than helped us. Our people deserve to hear how our congresswoman hasn’t gone after the Philippine visa waiver although she promised it in 2002. Our people deserve to hear why when our congresswoman was given the opportunity to get war claims for recognition of our war survivors she turned it down,” said Senator Blas.
Both were asked whether or not they supported Obama care. “Yes. I do support Obama care it is good for Guam it increases the medicaid match 55 percent medicaid funding $268.3 million dollars most importantly because of the situation on Guam with health issues among our people it insures people with existing conditions also there’s coverage for dependents up to 26 years of age these are very good points,” said Bordallo. “I do not support Obama care,” said Blas adding,
“You know our congresswoman talks about some of the advantages but she didn’t talk to you about we didn’t have the opportunity to get into the high risk pool so that those with pre-existing conditions prior to everything being done would’ve been taken care of. What she doesn’t also tell you is that of the $268 million dollars in medicaid funding that we receive on top of what we’re getting while she does admit that there’s a 55.5 percent cost share that’s money that we have to come up with.”
They were both asked about compact impact specifically the cost of housing prisoners from the Freely Associated States who come to Guam and commit crimes. “These are individuals like you said they come to Guam they come to U.S. jurisdictions to look for a better place to live and granted yes they have their own bad apples but when we talk about this we also gotta look at the fact that they came here as a result of an agreement that was between the United States and the Freely Associated States,” said Blas adding, “Well unfortunately for the last 26 years since it’s been in existence Guam has incurred a total debt of un-reimbursed cost of over $590 million dollars.”
“The Micronesian citizens have been living here for many decades and some are very very good citizens that have contributed to the community they are brothers and sisters as well as those from the Philippines and other neighboring islands. Now the first thing I did when I went to congress was increase the funding from $4.5 million in 2003 to $17.9 million,” said Bordallo.
They were asked about their concerns regarding the Guam military buildup and public safety, particularly concerns that stemmed from an incident years ago in Okinawa in which marines gang raped a 12 year old Japanese girl. “When it comes to social problems like this I am very concerned this has been a concern from the very beginning,” said Bordallo adding, “I’m a mother I’m a woman I’m a grandmother so this concerns me but I feel we have had the military on Guam ever since I was a young girl here right after WWII and there will always be situations like this and I certainly hope we will be in a position to control this to take care of it.”
“I’ve got a beautiful wife I’ve got four beautiful daughters of my 12 grandchildren 8 of them are girls but on the same token as we talk about a few small bad apples that there is communication that there is an understanding that there is collaboration between the law enforcement forces that we have on island through the Guam Police Department and other law enforcement entities and those in the Naval Investigative Service or the military police,” said Blas.
Blas and Bordallo also both disagreed over the handling of war reparations. Blas believes Bordallo dropped the ball when she was offered a compromise that would’ve paid out less war claims, however Bordallo believes she did the right thing in turning down the compromise.