Agat preps for election, annual MangoFest - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Agat preps for election, annual MangoFest

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It will be a busy weekend Saturday for the good people of Agat as not only is the village hosting its annual Mango Festival, but also electing a new vice mayor.

"This person who is going to win as a vice mayor will be working with me for a year and a half, so that makes a lot of difference," stated the mayor of the southern village, Carol Tayama. "I hope that the people of Agat will come out and support who they feel can do the job." On June 6, a special election is being held following the passing of Agustin Quintanilla in April. A total of five people are running for the position - all of whom Mayor Tayama says make for a strong list of candidates.

"People have asked me, who do I want? I can work with anybody, I think it's up to them to decide who they feel can do the job as a vice mayor," she explained.

The two running under the Democratic ticket are Derek Baza Hills and Jermaine Alerta. Under the Republican banner are Rowen Ann Malaga, Joseph "Benny" Salas, and Kevin Susuico. "We have a lot of young ones who decided to take the challenge, so that's good," the mayor noted. "And next year will be the general election for mayor and vice mayor."

Tayama says part of that challenge the new vice mayor will have is helping her address several issues plaguing the village including the stray dog problem, improvements to sports facilities and repairs to the roads. "And I know that I've been working on the roads and it's not easy to get the funding because those are federal funds we try to secure and the governor has been helping us but it's just that we're not the only village on the island, so we can only do so much," she said.

Tayama says whoever does win for vice mayor will gain the experience and background to possibly lead the village in the future as she will not seek re-election next year after over a decade on the job, adding, "I'm looking forward with whoever wins because we have a lot of work ahead of us. And it being my last term, I want to make sure that everything is in place."

There are currently over 2,321 registered voters in Agat. The special election again is set for June 6 from 7am to 8pm at Oceanview Middle School.

The special election meanwhile will take place on the same day as the village's main event the Agat Mango Festival. The election was initially set for May, but was postponed due to Typhoon Dolphin. While she had initially wanted a vice mayor elected before the festival, Tayama hopes the people will come out for both events. "It's a lot of work and I wanted to work with the vice mayor, but it didn't happen. I'm hoping the community will come out, vote and then come and attend our events - it's scheduled for June 6 and 7 so we're hoping for having a successful mango festival event," she said. 

"With the storm that just happened, I know that a lot of the mangos have been destroyed, but nevertheless we're still going to have it."

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