Speaker's Weekly Radio Address - Feb 23 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Speaker's Weekly Radio Address - Feb 23

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Speaker's Weekly Radio Address for February 23, 2011
by Judi Won Pat

Buenas yan Hafa Adai.

It's a pleasure to report to you the progress of your Legislative branch. Last Thursday, the Deloitte firm came to the Legislature to facilitate a workshop for the Senators on Ethics in Government. This class is a required course every 4 years for every elected official, executive department head and deputy, and members of government boards and commissions. The class covers issues like contract laws, standards of conduct and conflict of interest.

Conflict of interest is an important issue in any government. Serving the People of Guam must be the first priority of each Senator, Director, Board Member, or Commissioner; personal or business interests must NOT compete with the interests of our People. Each of the Appointees is required by law to submit a full Financial Disclosure form to the Guam Election Commission, which reveals any possible influence on their decision making from their personal and family financial interests. I am pleased to inform our community that the forms we have received have been forthright regarding perceived potential conflicts with their appointments. It is only with this up-front declaration and transparency that Government can be true to the People who have placed their sacred trust in us.

This week marks the first week of regular session for the 31st Guam Legislature. With 12 bills and 29 appointments on the agenda, we will be diligent and prudent in addressing all matters before your legislature.

On Monday we heard Bill 33‐31, "an act to repeal the statute of limitation for the prosecution of a sex crime involving a victim who is under the age of the majority." This bill was introduced by my well‐regarded colleague Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz, who has been a steadfast champion for the  rights of the survivors of childhood sexual assault and rape. This bill allows survivors to seek justice and closure on crimes against our families. It will address the issue of "time", time that is often not on the side of survivors to cope with the traumatic experience.

Many of our Senators spoke out courageously of their own personal experiences with sexual abuse and domestic violence, supporting bill 33‐31. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is following your healing path, even if it seems difficult to do so in the moment. Their courage provides a model for other survivors, and shows that it's ok to speak out. It's important to tell your story. And if you can do it, it's important to prosecute the person who hurt you, no matter how much time has passed, and no matter who they are. Si Yu'os Ma'ase, Vice Speaker Cruz, for your commitment, and to my colleagues for their courage to support the needed change to make things right for survivors and our families.

On Monday we also discussed Senator Pangelinan's bill on creating a GovGuam Mitigation Program for Business Interruption—a bill that will help us create plans to "ensure that the negative impact of road construction on residents and businesses are minimized" with the coming expansion of the Military on Guam. We all know how much road construction has lengthened our commutes to work and home, and it has also affected the bottom line of local businesses. Senator Pangelinan's bill will provide financial assistance to small and mid‐sized companies impacted by road construction and other government projects. This will help to preserve our local small businesses, which are the foundation of our island economy.

As Session continues this week, I invite you to observe as your legislative branch of government performs its duty and mandates set by you, the people of Guam. My Si Yu'os Ma'ase to MCV Channel 13 and GTA Channel 21 for providing the community front row seats to the legislative processes. We are one community, one Guam, and Your legislature is working hard for the good of our People and the future of our children.

Biba tao tao tano!

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