Governor Lou Leon Guerrero delivered her fourth State of the Island Address on Wednesday night. The hour-long speech was punctuated by multiple rounds of applause led by many of her cabinet members who were in attendance. The governor unveiled a number of new initiatives.

Pocketbook issues were the focus of the speech, with the governor noting how the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the cost of living. Among the first issues she addressed were soaring power rates. She proposed that every residential ratepayer receive a $100 monthly credit to immediately offset the cost of power for the next five months, the money to come from excess General Fund revenues.

"Send me a bill authorizing this credit and I will sign it," she said, evoking a raucous round of applause in approval.

KUAM News spoke with Guam Power Authority assistant general manager for administration Tricee Limtiaco, who said they still need the details but believes they'd be able to implement the credit pretty quickly.

She also announced an extension of the Prugraman Salappe public assistance initiative. $500 would be used at the discretion of low- to middle-income qualifiers.

"If you qualified for Round 2 of Prugraman Salappe, you don't have to do anything - you'll automatically get a $500 check in the same manner," Leon Guerrero described. "Those who did not apply for Round 2 can still get this $500 by applying for Prugraman Salappe 3."

And the governor also said she's working with the Guam Solid Waste Authority on free trash collection for every household.

"This $12 million investment is good for our people, good for our economy, and good for our environment," she said.

But the opposition party Republicans reacted to the proposals with a good measure of caution. Minority Leader Chris Duenas told KUAM News, "Once again, going over the numbers just for this budget alone, the teacher pay is $35 million, this power program by legislation from the General Fund is $25 million was what my quick math came up to. We've got the law enforcement pay and between 5% and 20% is what the agencies have been asking for.


"So I think we're going to have to have the budget chair immediately sit down and take all these monies into account simply because I don' think the math adds up at this point."

The governor also sought the business community's help on some other substantive issues: paid family leave, an upcoming job fair with over 500 private sector openings, and economic diversification with undersea cables laying the groundwork for a Guam technology ecosystem.

One other grand proposal is for universal healthcare. Leon Guerrero said lowering the costs beginning with government workers is more than a moral obligation - it is an economic mandate.

The details on this and other proposals are still to come.