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Southern residents make their voices heard

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - Old age didn't stop Talofofo resident Francisco Irirate from casting his vote for his pick mayoral candidate, Vicente "Ben" Taitague. Taitague, who's served a total of twelve years as mayor, is always there for Iriarte. "Down south, villagers are looking for leaders who can relate and who will listen to their concerns," Iriarte explained.

"[If I say], 'Ben, I need help', he says, 'Okay, I'll be there.'"  Iriarte says he never misses a chance to exercise his right to vote, but at 90 years old, he needed his daughter to assist with filling out the ballot.

Pete Baza of Agat had an early start to his morning, but like Iriarte, knew his candidate selects long before entering the voting booth. "Democratic all the way!" he proudly said.

Santa Rita resident Frank Perez disagrees with Baza's voting style. For Perez, this primary election was a chance to give new faces a try. Perez says 75% of his selections are newcomers to the Guam Legislature and he wants to see cuts to senators' salaries. "I want something to be changed," he told KUAM News. "Some change to be done on the island of Guam, but the old senators they're already millionaires they're already rich."

Yona resident Thomas San Nicolas agrees. Senators in the 31st Guam Legislature are making too much money as public servants. San Nicolas put his votes towards candidates who've expressed desire to cut their salaries. "The senators should go in for the first session to address their salary. I know right now they're receiving $50,000-some dollars each," he shared.  San Nicolas also wants leaders who will expedite solutions. For him, roads are the biggest issue in his village and although they're being corrected, took forever to see any action.

Merizo mayoral candidate Rosie Tainantango says she'll provide just that along with proper representation for her southern village, who often get neglected. She said, "We want to make sure that we are known we are part of this island and that we do make a difference."

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