Esther Kia'aina on Guam this week
Monday, October 20th 2014, 3:39 PM ChST
Guam - As part of her introductory meeting with political and private sector leaders since being confirmed over the summer, US assistant secretary for insular areas Esther Kia'aina is on Guam this week. Before over 100 members of the Guam Women's Chamber of Commerce, Kia'aina spoke on some of the challenges to the federal-Guam relationship.
She said, "I believe that already given the fact that Guam is not a state, the odds are already stacked against us but I think what's most damaging apart from the fact that you don't have full representation in the congress, is the budgetary climate that requires that in order to get any increased funding, this would be war claims, this would be compact impact, this would be fulfillment of our federal obligation to Palau, $178 million unfulfilled after five years, are related to the manner of how we find budgetary offsets in order to move that forward."
Kia'aina adds that her highest priority in her tenure as the assistant secretary is the issue of Compact impact aid. The Hawaiian native, who was born on Guam, told the GWCC that Guam has helped shaped her background and value system.