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Island leaders commend Bordallo's speech

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Island leaders are giving their reviews of Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's address on the progress she's made on several issues affecting Guam to the initiatives she proposed moving forward.

Governor Eddie Calvo said, "If you listen to the tone of the Congresswoman's speech, it's about the Team Guam approach, about all of us working collaboratively towards common goals and objectives."

Key issues from self-determination to war claims to the military buildup - these are just some issues discussed during Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's congressional address. However it all revolved around a renewal in faith in ourselves and working with each other. Former senator and former Republican candidate for Congress Frank Blas Jr. says he's willing to put differences aside and work with Bordallo in moving those very issues forward. "I would appreciate and hope with that renewed commitment comes a great vigor in being able to ensure or try to get a louder representation," he said.

Speaker Judi Won Pat meanwhile says while congress may be different from when her father represented Guam, the Guam Legislature is there to offer its support whether it be writing legislation, visiting the nation's capitol or lobbying Congress. "The good thing about it is she's not going to give up and she'll continue to fight for Guam so that's good," she stated.

Bordallo mentioned working Hawaii and American Samoa on legislation that would increase annual compact-impact assistance. Won Pat hopes Bordallo will present the measure to garner support during the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures meeting this summer in Hawaii.

And while Bordallo says she appreciates the Legislature's efforts to bring attention to the need for increased Compact impact funding for the island, she cautioned that Resolution 135 would not satisfy House Republican rules. That measure was introduced by Senator Chris Duenas requesting the congresswoman introduce legislation on an annual basis for reimbursement of $50 million for Compact impact.

Duenas, disagreeing with Bordallo's approach, says we simply can't afford to be cautious. "And the statement is Guam can no longer afford to continue to subsidize this issue, so while I appreciate the speech and the caution I'm going to move forward with Resolution 135 because I think it's the right thing to do," he told KUAM News.

One idea receiving positive feedback was Bordallo's mention of establishing a local veteran's court to help veterans who may have trouble readjusting to civilian life after service. Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido says while the Judiciary doesn't get involved in politics, this is an idea that he can support. "That was a real curve ball to me and I had no knowledge of it but I'm excited and ecstatic that we have the congresswoman interested," he stated.

He plans to work with Adjutant General Benny Paulino along with Judge Anita Sukola who currently handles the Mental Health Court to map out a plan and move this idea forward. "We've already started looking into it and now with having the congresswoman's interest and possibly some seed funding this is something that I'm going to really set as a priority within the Judiciary," she said.

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