Calvo shares Guam's story in Washington - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo shares Guam's story in Washington

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It's safe to say that federal officials and congressional leaders are little bit more aware of issues affecting our island, as Governor Eddie Calvo recently shared the Guam story in our nation's capitol. "I think it was successful in the sense of relaying the full Guam story, whether it's the senate, or members of the administration or governors," he said. "But the important thing now is continuing to push our cause."

Guam's chief executive is referring to his recent trip to Washington, DC where not only did he attend the National Governor's Association Annual Meeting, but also the senior plenary session of the interagency group on insular areas. "I would have liked to met with Senator [John] McCain, but because of scheduling issues was not able to, but was able to meet with key staffers in both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Those are important committees."

Calvo says meeting with the Senate Armed Services Committee was particularly important because of the impending military buildup. "It was an opportunity since we don't have this direct communication, we don't have any representation at the Senate, for me to sit down one on one with these important staffers to give them the total Guam story, and that was what it was all about. It was a total Guam story, it was a story about an island that's very important to the strategic defense of the United States, an island where the people - a vast majority of them - are supportive of the movement of Marines here, but also who believe that the United States has an obligation either through the One Guam approach that was signed in the programmatic agreement to make the necessary improvements outside the gate."

Calvo adds the United States also has an obligation to Guam to reimburse for costs of Compact impact. And as the US looks toward strengthening its strategic military defense position, Calvo says they also have to look at certain commitments not only to Guam and the Northern Marianas, but also the Freely Associated States. And while Governor Calvo had the chance to outline the issues affecting Guam, he also offered solutions, as well.

"If you are not, and let's say outside the fence areas in regards to where we believe the Defense Department should pay for this outside the fence improvement as a result of the Marines realignment and (if) they don't want to pay for it. I said, 'Tell you what, give us a visa waiver for China, I can easily tell you that if we get Chinese visa waivers, we'll get 200,000 tourists like NMI is getting and there's a direct quantifiable amount of money that means in revenues for the people of Guam', and we can use some of that money to pay for some of these costs that the federal government is not willing to own up to," he continued.

Another recommendation Governor Calvo made was repealing the Jones Act. He says repealing this "obsolete law" may solve other issues on Guam including the cost of living and inequities with Medicaid.

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