Speaker’s Weekly Address: 4 Initiatives to Combat Poverty & Boost Revenues

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Guam – In her weekly address, Speaker Judi Won Pat offers 4 initiatives to help alleviate poverty and boost GovGuam revenues.

Those initiatives are supporting the legislation necessary to get tax refunds into the hands of those who need it most; ensuring that the executive branch exhausts all efforts to make health care affordable for GovGuam employees;  making sure that GovGuam invests in capital infrastructure to reduce the government’s reliance on rentals; and closing tax privileges that companies have sought shelter in for years.

The Speaker also commends Governor Calvo for his plans to walk through island villages to hear the problems of poverty first hand.

And she warns that the looming Federal shutdown this weekend should send a message to us that “as a people right here on Guam, must make sound
financial decisions and learn to live within our means.”

READ the Speaker’s Address below, or click on the link to HEAR her Address:

speaker address 4-6-11.mp3

Buenas yan Hafa Adai my Dear People of Guam.

It is a sobering and somber feeling that comes over us when we talk about our financial challenges, most especially when it hits close to home.  The
Guam Legislature, through the leadership of people like Senator Ben Pangelinan and Senator Tina Barnes, tackles a wide spectrum of issues related to financing, whether it’s addressing our government’s budget or focusing on job creation for the People of Guam. 

Now, we are learning of the executive branch’s efforts to reach out and hear from the people themselves and the struggles they face.  This too will help inform the public discourse on poverty, public financing, and social work.

No one can deny that poverty is a problem.  For many households the choice must come down to choosing between gas and groceries.  For many more, the decision is sometimes made for us: we simply can’t afford the premium health or car insurance for our family given the rates negotiated on our
account by those in positions of influence.  And this, my dear people, is where you will see the fine distinctions between those who walk among you
and those who are one of you.

I am amongst the class of people who had to work for every dollar earned.

I’ve even committed my life to serving you, the People of Guam, in the classroom and later in public service as a senator to advocate for needs
of the rest of us— the working class man and woman.  The difference is I’ve never really left that class of working people. The difference is,
you and I have spent-and will continue to spend-a great portion of our lives working in order to make ends meet, whether it’s for the house
payment, paying tuition for our kids college, or for clothes for the newest baby in the family.

Standing among you and alongside fourteen other senators in the Guam Legislature, I will make this commitment to you.  I will work with the
leadership in the legislature to propose the following initiatives to Governor Eddie Baza Calvo:

• First, providing the necessary enabling legislation that would get tax refunds into the hands of those who need it most: our working class
families.

• Second, that the executive branch exhausts all efforts to make health care affordable for government of Guam employees.

• Third, that the government invests in capital infrastructure to reduce the government’s reliance on rentals.

• Fourth, that we research and close certain tax privileges that companies have sought shelter in for years, if not decades.

Governor Calvo, I commend you for leaving Adelup and entering into the villages of Guam to see and hear the plights of our People.  When you
emerge from your fact finding campaign, I welcome any invitation you may have for the Guam Legislature to sit with you at the table to devise a
plan that is actionable and with clear and measurable results that we may use to track progress and ultimately success.

We must continue in our joint practice of Ina’famaolek and work cooperatively in establishing and implementing programs that are designed
to shatter poverty.  Training and placing skilled and qualified locals to fill those much needed positions in the local and federal government, as
well as in those companies doing business on Guam, as Senator Tina Muna Barnes suggests is one way forward.

My dear people, let’s face it, we are not alone in our financial hardship.

The federal government is facing a potential shutdown.  This should demonstrate that we, as a people right here on Guam, must make sound
financial decisions and learn to live within our means.

In closing, I have worked in this community and served you for a longtime, long enough to know the danger of quick fixes.  I caution that, before we
rush to increase the debt ceiling and pass on any more liabilities to future generations, let us first clean house, fix the obvious problems in our government, and work on initiatives that will stimulate this economy and create jobs.

It is our moral responsibility to help our brothers and sisters come out-and stay out-of poverty.

You are a part of the solution. I am part of the solution. We are part of the solution.

So let’s get to work.

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