Guam – A congrressional delegation comprised of House Armed Services readiness subcommittee Chairman Robert Whitman and Congressman Bill Flores of Texas is on Guam touring military facilities and meeting with island leaders.
They’re here to get an update on the progress of the Guam military buildup. “We want to make sure wer’e here communicating the things that have happened in Washington specifically as it relates to the National Defense Authorization Act and the recent appropriation bills that have passed.
We want to make sure we understand Guam’s concerns about how these decisions are made going forward to make sure that as military construction projects take place they take place in consideration about what needs to happen here in Guam so we want to make sure we understand that so these things take place in the right way,” said Congressman Whitman.
The two congressmen met with the Governor this morning and then with Senators. Congressman Whitman says that he will make sure that Guam’s concerns with the buildup are considered particularly with regards to cultural and environmental issues. “This has been a very very constructive conversation here. It’s been good for us to come here in person to understand that to make sure that as we make decisions in Washington and as we communicate with folks within the Pentagon that they understand too what local concerns are. Sometimes it’s hard to capture that if you don’t actually come to Guam to make sure we understand that,” said Congressman Whitman.
Congressman Bill Flores of Texas says they had good meetings with both the Governor and Senators.”It was a fruitful and comprehensive discussion of the interests of Guam and the military strategic value of this region and I think it’s very positive,” said Congressman Flores.
Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo says it was a good opportunity for the Congressmen to hear first hand some of Guam’s concerns with regards to the buildup. “Their big concern is that we continue with this expansion of the military that we’re treated fairly as the civilian community just as other states are when theres expansion of military bases there,” said Congresswoman Bordallo.
Speaker Judi Won Pat was pleased with the meeting as well saying that the Congressmen were very receptive to the input from Guam’s leaders. “We were very happy about the meeting the result of the meeting representative Whitman was very receptive the nice thing about him is because he himself has a big military base in his state Virginia,” said Speaker Won Pat.
Senator Aline Yamashita says she was happy to know that the congressmen were interested in Guam’s concerns. “Most of the senators were with the Speaker this morning and all of the issues from water to wastewater to roads to stockpiling of missiles are all on the table,” said Senator Yamashita. The CODEL will be visiting Okinawa and other strategic areas in this region that are involved in the military realignment.