Guam - Yesterday, the Guam Legislature had the privilege of participating in a scholarship award ceremony sponsored by the Guam Chapter Association of Government Accountants.
The association sponsored an essay contest meant to encourage active participation and awareness, at the high school level, on accountability and transparency in the government. The essay contest was titled: Government Accountability in the 21st Century: How my generation views government accountability and transparency on Guam and in the Pacific."
Congratulations to Jeremia Gallego of Southern Christian Academy for winning 1stplace; Noel Bien Carlos, Jr. of Father Duenas on winning second place and Erica Respicio of GW High School for your winning third place.
It was refreshing to be there because as a policy maker I was able to take note ofsome of the ideas that the students had about improving government efficiency, accountability, and transparency. It was refreshing because I was reminded that our youth often bring out the purest of intentions, without the influences of party line or other biases (professional or personal) unrelated to the matter at hand.
These young minds were able to understand that a fundamental component to efficient government is open and consistent communication.
I can't reiterate this point enough: in all that we do, it is important to maintain an open and respectful line of communication for one another.
You see, it is ok to disagree. As a matter of fact, to openly debate matters is the nature of a free and open democracy. But while we may disagree, it is important that we not be ‘disagreeable.' While we may not see eye-to-eye nor share the same philosophies about public policy, lets us argue over genuine differences. However heated a discussion let us debate about those things that are important.
Let us have open discussions with an open mind and with the commitment to emerge from it all with a decision that is in the best interest of the People of Guam.
This year we will have to make hard decisions about how to control our debt without sacrificing critical publicservices, we will continue to work on growing the economy without further damage to our environment and strain to our infrastructure, and on improving education on Guam… in a well thought out manner.
And as we proceed in carrying out the will of the People of Guam, let us do so responsibly, professionally, and selflessly. Governor Calvo, as an appeal to you and members of the administration, the 31st Guam Legislature has remained true to its commitment to work in the spirit of Ina' famaolek. And it is in this spirit that I admonish any public ridicule of persons who believe that scoring points is more important than solving problems.
I agree with President Obama that: "Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we've got an obligation that goes beyond caring about the next election. We have an obligation to care for the next generation."
I extend an open invitation to you, Governor Calvo, to have coffee with me, as Speaker of the Guam Legislature, to keep the lines of communication open. Governor, I will give you a call!