What’s up with Ken Joe?


So, what’s up with Ken Joe Ada, anyway? Here, we slice through the speculation and get straight to what could be at the heart of the situation. After all the viral scuttlebutt swirling through social media about senatorial candidate Ada’s attention-grabbing public behavior lately, on Thursday morning, Newstalk K57 radio host Patti Arroyo managed to uncover a bit of what Ken Joe’s been going through.

Guam – By all counts, former Yona Village Mayor Ken Joe Ada is a thoughtful, considerate, happy-go-lucky guy. Always with a kind word, and now a senatorial campaign with love at its heart.

But media professionals, social media trolls, and concerned citizens have all pointed out what they consider a consistent display of odd behavior. Some say this is not the same politically savvy village mayor  they once knew.

The questions became controversy after Ada responded  to a question posed to him by television host Pauly Suba during a Fox 6 interview in a segment of the campaign season program Coffee with the Candidates.

“You were talking about good people doing bad things, bad people doing good things. Do you care to speak on some of the current stories that are in the news as far as government corruption?” Suba asked.

“In life, I think, if you’re living, you could die,” Ada said. “If you’re smart, you could get dumb. And if you’re poor, you could get rich. And if you’re dumb, you get smart. And if you’re dead, you could get alive. So that way, you’re whole.  If you’re alive, you could get dead. And when death finds you, there’s nothing to kill, because you’re already obliterated.”

Some have wondered whether the 24 months Ken Joe spent alone in contemplation may have effected his outlook on life. Has he had a spiritual awakening? Is he behaving like a misunderstood prophet?

“And I feel I’ve evolved to something to where I can actually give back in a greater capacity,” Ada told Suba. “And so I took myself off the Internet for two years. No cell phone for two years. And tried to answer to some really hard, forward-moving questions about Guam. For example, ‘what happens if we  don’t get any federal funding?'”

“Uh-huh, what happens?” Suba asked.

“So the plot thickens.” Ada responded.

“Right,” Suba said.

Or is the explanation simpler than all that? On Thursday morning, Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo got Ken Joe to open up about a condition he’s been struggling with.

“I suffer from PTSD,” he told Arroyo.

Admitting to Arroyo that he doesn’t pay much attention to social media banter these days, he seemed to be more focused on his campaign.

ADA: “In all honesty, it’s because I process information very differently from …everybody’s variable, so when I’m on the Internet…I know how to effectively use it to my advantage and then I just get off.

ARROYO: “Mmm.”

ADA: “Like, you know, I’m not always online.”

PATTI: “OK, so you’re not necessarily hearing and seeing what people are saying about you on social media?”

KEN JOE: “Yeah, because I have a lot of homework to do.” (Chuckles.)

Today Ken Joe is 35. As a young man four years  ago, he managed to earn enough votes to get himself elected mayor. The question voters must answer for themselves now  is whether they believe Ken Joe Ada is prepared to serve as a senator in the 35th Guam Legislature.

The work may be no harder, per se, but the greater pressure to perform when the stakes are higher is obvious. Lying ahead for an incoming senator are such responsibilities as islandwide budgeting, islandwide taxation, islandwide health, education and safety, and overseas political relations.

Whatever the electorate decides, there can be no doubt about Ken Joe Ada’s desire to serve.

“You know, I just want to offer myself to Guam,” he told K57. “I’m sitting there as a candidate, and I come from all of the village meetings, and I don’t want to do anything else, you know? I don’t want to do anything else.”

Although Ada has publicly expressed the distress he has suffered as a merchant marine and world traveler, he did not specify to Patti Arroyo the source of his post-traumatic stress disorder.