Governor's Weekly Radio Address (Jan 17) - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor's Weekly Radio Address (Jan 17)

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"Breaking the Rules of Politics, Doing Our Part, and Building Trust"

My Fellow Guamanians,

Last week, a friend warned me that the decisions I'm making may not be so popular come election time. I told him the election is over. It's time to govern and serve.

There are serious problems before us. There is no time for politics. I am grateful that my friends at the Legislature also agree with me. Over the past few weeks, I've received overtures of support from the Democrats and Republicans. Senator Pangelinan wants to meet with us. Vice Speaker Cruz, and Senators Guthertz and Silva Taijeron all offered support to fix the cash crisis. Senator Respicio is pushing the Guam First Commission. Senators Yamashita and Duenas are big supporters of the systems of care. Senator Tony Ada is advocating a program we have at GEDA to help small businesses around the traffic jams.

We're getting help from Senator Tom Ada on utilities issues. Senator Blas is helping us with compact impact funding. Senator Mabini participated in our education transition effort. Senator Muna-Barnes is trying to get land returned, and Speaker Won Pat is addressing education matters with us. Senator Rodriguez is collaborating with us to fix the hospital. Lt. Governor Tenorio and Senator Palacios are taking care of the needs of public safety agencies.

Transparency, open lines of communication, and forgetting about the next election have opened so many opportunities. We may not always agree, but everyone is working together. Problems are getting solved. Solutions are not pawns between political parties. And, by gosh, things are changing for the better.

I was very touched Friday, when I heard Dr. Nerissa Underwood on the radio responding to Ray Gibson. He asked her, "How are you this morning?" She said, "It's a problem solving day!" Without any formal encouragement from Adelup, she put a team together to trim costs at DOE. It touched me deeply… because though we all knew the largest budget by far is for public schools - it hits home for mothers and fathers throughout Guam that the cash crisis is even affecting children. I am so very sorry that you are now paying for the sins of the past.

Nevertheless, it speaks volumes of this government and its workers that agencies are stepping up to the challenge of fixing the problems. DOE did not have to do anything. They are not under my direct supervision, and I can't control their finances. Instead, they recognized on their own what they needed to do to help out. And to all the agency heads out there: if public schools can do their part, then I expect all of you to do the same.

Vice Mayor Robert Hoffman recently said that the mayors also want to help. And I agree with him that the mayors do a whole lot with few resources. They are the first leaders our people go to for help. I think the fact that they are trying to cut costs on a bare-bones budget sets a fine example for us all.

Change matched by courage is contagious. Everyone is coming together to build a government you can trust and be proud of.

This is the basis for my decision to restart the payment of tax refunds. I was very upset to learn that refunds weren't being paid the month before we came to office. This is not the government's money. It's your money.

I know this is a new administration and a new year. We're all still getting used to all the changes. And while the extraordinary men and women at the Legislature are our friends, we're not taking for granted that we're building professional trust and relationships in our new roles. I want all of you to trust our administration. Know that we are here to serve you. We're doing everything openly and honestly. We're not holding back. And we're definitely making decisions based on what is the right course of action, not what is popular. I'd rather have your respect - and a clean conscience - than a term beholden to the political dictates of the next election.

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