What is the Congresswoman thinking?
Just days after a federal court decision that restricts the rights of Guam’s native inhabitants from deciding their political future, Delegate Madeleine Bordallo decides to chime in and ADD more federal restrictions on us while the rest of us fight for autonomy for the rights of our people to decide our island’s political status!
“There are many challenges regarding our relationship with the federal government that we’ve had to rely on other people — not our elected delegate to Washington D.C. — to bring to the federal government,” Governor Calvo stated. “Not only do we not have a vote, it seems we don’t even have a voice.”
Congresswoman Bordallo where have you been?
As we write this press release, Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, is fighting for federal infrastructure money for the territories, including Guam.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo what are you doing?
Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa is working to ease restrictions on local fishing in the territories: “For over a millennium, our people have fished these waters. For some bureaucrat in Washington to close off these vast swaths of oceans to our people without consulting local leadership or industries so they might appease their environmental masters.”
Governor Calvo recently signed a joint letter with CNMI and American Samoa calling on the federal government to respect territorial fishing rights.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo where were you?
Governor Calvo continues to work with the federal government as well as governors across the nation to ensure they all know about Guam’s challenges and the role the federal government has in causing the problems and, more importantly, what they can do to help solve these issues. He just recently sent a letter to President Trump asking to bring the ship repair program (that used to employ 400 people) back to Guam.
Congressman Dennis Ross, R-Florida, introduced the Fighting for Orange-Stricken Territories in Eastern Regions (FOSTER) Act, which would provide presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to Vietnam War-era veterans who served in specific areas, including Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, and show symptoms of medical conditions currently associated with such exposure so they can receive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.
We heard Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo say she appreciates HIShelp, but what has our representative to Washington D.C. done?
Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has introduced legislation that includes Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, and Guam as downwinders, recognizing Guam’s exposure to nuclear fallout from tests conducted in the Marshall Islands between the 1940s and 1960s.
Representative Bordallo why aren’t you representing us?
There are many federal issues that the Governor, his cabinet and staff have been actively working to resolve; Delegate Madeleine Bordallo has been silent.
The Administration continues to focus on:
- Compact Impact: The 2016 regional migrant-related expenses for Guam are calculated at $142M, yet the federal reimbursement of $15M falls woefully short. The unreimbursed COFA impacts for FY87-FY16 totals $1.34B for locally-funded costs incurred for providing educational, public safety, transportation, health, and welfare services to the citizens of the FAS.
- Earned Income Tax Credit: Getting the federal government to pay for this federal mandate the same way they pay it in the states.
- Decolonization: Working with the Dept. of Interior, the Governor was able to get money for the education effort on decolonization.
- Medicare: Working with the federal government to increase reimbursement rates for this federal program to match those of the states.
- Veterans Affairs: Guam has the highest per capita of veterans but wait times for our veterans is unreasonably long. Funding and resources is based on total population and not the veteran population — something we’re talking to the Secretary about and working to remedy.
- Agent Orange: Working with the federal government to test for cancer-causing chemicals used on Guam by the military.
- Ship repair: The previous presidential administration moved the Dry Dock from Guam, which resulted in a loss of 400 jobs.
- HUB Zone: Ensuring Guam maintains its HUB Zone designation that give Guam’s small businesses an advantage when competing for federal contracts. The designation is about to expire.
- Social Security: Working with the IRS, Health and Human Services, and other federal partners to allow Government of Guam employees to participate in the program, which would boost the program and also help ease retirement cost on the local government.
- H-2B Visas: Working with the federal government to reverse the unexplained downturn in foreign labor visa applications.
- Chamorro Land Trust: We’re working with the Office of the Attorney General and soon with the U.S. Department of Justice to figure out what, if anything, we can do to keep the federal government from further marginalizing and disenfranchising the native people of Guam.
- Consent Decrees: Our people are paying more than $20 million a year for federal consent decrees or to keep from getting into a consent decree: Solid Waste, Department of Education, Department of Corrections, Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center. Most recently, the Governor filed a lawsuit against the Navy on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.
- Federal overreach: Under the Clean Water/Air Acts, Guam is paying more than $1 billion for utilities upgrades. The Administration has been fighting this for years and trying to educate federal partners on how this act fails to take Guam’s geography and carbon footprint into account.
- Jones Act: The Governor, working with leaders from Hawaii and Alaska, continues to battle the shackles that bind our economy and push up the cost of living.
- Migrant Criminals: Working with the federal government, the Administration is removing migrant criminals who harm the people and businesses of Guam.
- PROMESA: The Congresswoman actually advocated for Guam to be included in PROMESA, which is clouding Guam’s economic landscape. Now we are fighting to show investors & rating agencies that Guam is NOT in the same fiscal situation as Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, and that we are managing our finances.
This is just a list of just some of the federally-related issues we’ve been working on recently.
As the Administration works, day in and day out, to ease federal restrictions on our self-governance, it begs the question: What has Congresswoman Bordallo’s office done?
In the past year, the Congresswoman’s office has sent out 70 press releases. About 15 have anything to do with federal relations. And the latest press release is on adding constitutional restrictions to our local government and on our own people.
If her latest press release is indicative of where her attention is, then perhaps its time she step down from Congressional seat with its $174,000 per year salary (not including benefits) and run for senator or governor.