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Delegate details "Winning the Future for Guam"

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Guam congressional delegate Madeleine Bordallo's presented her 2011 State of the Island Address downtown in the island's capital village of Hagatna. The theme of her address was "Winning the Future for Guam".

Although there were rumors of a walkout by senators because of their discontent with two provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, the first: to sell Fena back to GovGuam for $300 million and second the Navy be given 33% control over the Consolidated Commission on Utilities, the congresswoman in her address didn't waste time and tackled that issue at the start of her address. She talked about the history of how it came to be and how she objected to the two provisions Bordallo saying she agrees with local leaders that island ratepayers should not have to pay for the integration and consolidation of the two systems.

She also said she completely agrees with Governor Eddie Calvo and senators that the navy should not sit as a voting member on the CCU. The congresswoman said that she would walk with the governor, Senator Tom Ada and "every member of the legislature to Fena to show unity and to help bring end to the final vestige of former naval governance on Guam."

On the topic of the buildup she said this is the summer of decisions and urged everyone to put aside politics and remain "One Guam" in our their discussions with the military about the future of the realignment, she added that we must take advantage of this moment in history to secure lasting benefits for our island our children and our future.

The congresswoman also discussed education and ARRA funding, saying she will continue to fight to ensure no child is left behind and that leaders must tackle high drop our rates in Guam and the rest of the territories and find solutions that will encourage our young men and women to earn their diplomas.

From education to the economy and keeping with her theme of winning the future for Guam, Bordallo said we will win if we work to ensure new economic opportunities for our people. The congresswoman added that we must ensure that small businesses on island get their fair share. And will urge the department of defense and the navy to increase their efforts to promote small business contracting.

The key to these economic opportunity, Bordallo said, requires aggressive tax enforcement. She said she's asked the Department of Defense to do two things: compliance with local tax laws to be part of contract stipulations; and joint inspectors general investigations where there are reports of tax dodgers.

As for the Joint Guam CNMI Visa Waiver Program, Bordallo is continuing to work on the inclusion of China and Russia visitors to Guam. She said she has been successful in halting a final rule that might not have included these visitors, but work must still be done going forward and pledged to work with industry stakeholders, the governor and legislature to see this through to fruition.

Bordallo also discussed the impact of President Obama's healthcare reform plan, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and where Guam isn't covered by some of its mandates.

The congresswoman also touched on the compact impact program, and how she's working to ensure that the coverage is outside the Medicaid caps. And Guam gets what's owed.

During her address she recognized the island's 12,000 veterans, saying, "We owe it to them to recognize their sacrifices and their families who have suffered alongside their families". She said the opening of the community-based outpatient clinic in Agana Heights as a positive step forward. She is also continuing work to decrease the amount of time to process claims in Hawaii and work on issues to resolve concerns about Tri-Care.

In her closing remarks Bordallo talked about how ugly and disrespectful local politics has become promised that her replies to local leaders when they write her will be respectful and courteous and that her spoken words will be respectful and courteous. "We want to inspire our children and young adults to view political discourse, and more importantly, public service as good things that contribute to a better island.  This is how we will win the future for Guam.  We will win the future for Guam by making the right decisions and building a future worthy of our children's aspirations," she promised.

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