Bordallo discusses reparations, Compact impact, free schooling - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bordallo discusses reparations, Compact impact, free schooling

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Serving her seventh term in the United States Congress, Guam delegate Madeleine Bordallo delivered her annual congressional address at the Guam Legislature on Thursday night. She began by urging elected officials to move forward with determining Guam's political status and urged the governor and legislature to work with the commission on decolonization to begin the process so that we can make the self determination vote a reality. She then discussed voting rights.

"For those of us who live in the territories, the President's call for full voting rights seems a little hollow when you consider that Americans in the territories cannot vote for President and do not have full voting representation on the floor of the House," she said.

She urged the community to support the We the People Project, a grassroots organization fighting to win the right to vote for citizens in the territories. Bordallo also announced plans to introduce two amendments to the Organic Act, one would require the passage of an election before any pay adjustment for elected officials, following controversy over recent pay raises. The second would remove barriers for those pursuing elected office.

Next, Bordallo discussed Compact impact, saying, "I was very disappointed that the Interior has again requested a decrease to discretionary Compact-impact in their fiscal 2016 budget, and will work with my colleagues to restore this account to at least Fiscal Year 2015 enacted level."

Discretionary spending decreased from $3 million to $1.3 million, however $30 million in mandatory spending remains, with Bordallo proposing it be raised to 185 million annually. She also highlighted the significant progress made with the military build-up with the release of military construction funds and the military's pivot to the Asia-Pacific Region along with new plans for Guam veterans.

Senator Frank Aguon, Jr. said, "That's wonderful news she shared with the community that the Community Based Outpatient Clinic has been approved for $550,000 to expand that facility by an extra 2,800 square feet."

The congresswoman also continues to fight for war reparations, as she said, "I have been approached by legal experts who believe that we should open up another avenue to resolve war claims through a federal lawsuit."

She said she supports a lawsuit because it is clear conservatives will continue to block her efforts in the House.

Some good news included territories have received confirmation they will be included in Obama's America's College Promise Proposal, which would make the first two years of community college free if passed. DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez said, "We want to make sure that our students when they graduate from our public schools can go on to our community college, and have those financial obstacles addressed, again just like every other student in the United States."

Senator Mary Torres commented by saying, "I thought that it was a very comprehensive speech and for me what was very reassuring was she drew the parallels with all the officials on Guam that she works with so she's clearly very connected with many of the senators and the administration."

Bordallo finished by emphasizing the importance of our heritage and said she has great hopes for Guam's future.  

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