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Leaders respond to Bordallo's address

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The reviews are out for Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's annual congressional address delivered last night in Hagatna, and from even her toughest critics her address seems to have been a big hit.  Escorted into session hall by local attorney Mike Phillips, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's address Tuesday night covered an array of issues, including a pledge to help the Department of Education Superintendent Dr Nerissa Underwood, who said, "When she found out we were really in a tight spot, she  actually made a lot of effort in ensuring that USDOE knows that she is on top of it, so I appreciate it."

Bordallo also pledged to work to get an increase in Compact impact funding and to continue her relentless efforts to get war reparations, but the bulk of her speech last night dealt with the military buildup and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.   Bordallo listed off six areas of concern regarding the buildup, ranging from land issues which she opposed the use of condemnation, even so far as challenging the military use land within their existing footprint.  

She also said the Department of Defense must seriously consider and find ways to fund the infrastructure improvements needed outside the fence to support the buildup.  Governor Felix Camacho, who delivered his address just the day before, said it was a "excellent speech" and that he will continue to work with the congresswoman, especially as he heads to the nation's capital in the coming weeks.

"There are series of meetings with federal officials that will be had regarding the buildup in other matters related to Guam, and I look forward to working on many of these issues," he noted.

Committee Chair on the Guam Military Buildup Senator Judi Guthertz, who has not shied away in expressing her disdain with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, was pleased with Bordallo's speech, calling it "terrific".  She said, "It's clear to me now that the Legislature, our congresswoman and our governor are all thinking the same way on the Draft EIS, so we have a commonality speaking with one voice now on the Draft EIS.

"I'm hopeful now that our military friends and Washington leadership will pay attention to the concerns that have been brought forth by our congresswoman, legislature and by our governor and to redo the Draft EIS and address the issues that need to be addressed."

Speaking of military, 36th Wing Commander at Andersen Air Force Base Brigadier General Phil Rhulman attended Monday's night's address.  He said, "It was an excellent speech a good speech by Congresswoman Bordallo and the best thing about it was emphasizing the fact that we're all work together with this military buildup."

It's this coming together, so to speak, that District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood liked most about Bordallo's address, saying, "I just think the most important thing I felt being here as a federal public official as well as a judge is just the positive outlook she has and the call she has for everyone to come together, I think that was really the important thing for me."

What was important for Ted Nelson was to hear Bordallo's position on land and her clearly stating that she was not in support of eminent domain. He was also happy to hear that she plans to propose to the navy to either use property in Naval Magazine or Tinian as an alternative for the Marines training ranges, instead of his property in the eastern part of Guam.  He said, "We are very pleased that she has recognized our rights and that she will go beyond work with the Navy, military and everybody else to ensure that no land will be taken or be condemned, so we thank her, God bless Guam and Madeleine Bordallo."

Meanwhile, surprisingly Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz, who as of late has been critical of the congresswoman on the military buildup, was satisfied for the most part with her address.  He said, "My only disappointment is that she didn't expand on the medical and mental health needs, but otherwise the rest of the speech addressed most everything that I was concerned about. The condemnation issue, the dredging, it wasn't as strong as I wanted but at least now she recognizes this just cannot happen.

"I was very proud of the speech that she gave last night, I was very happy."

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