Madame Governor, Speaker and Members of I Mina Trentai Siete Na Liheslaturan
Guahan, Mr. Chief Justice and judicial officers, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Mayors and Vice-Mayors, Federal Partners and Military Leaders, My Dear People
of Guam…. Hafa Adai!
Happy New Year! Let me first recognize and thank our service members, and all
those serving abroad and away from their families during this holiday season. I
want to thank all our veterans and those who have served our nation and our island
for making days like today possible — the celebration of democracy and free
I also want to recognize my family and friends that are present here today,
especially my mom, Therese Tenorio, my sister Charissa and her family and of
course my partner Matt. I know that my dad would be so proud if he could be here
today, and I hope he is smiling down on all of us from heaven, watching the events
alongside all those that I miss and love.
I am grateful and honored today to take my oath of office for a second term as your
Lieutenant Governor. In these last few days, I have been thinking alot about our
inaugural ceremony four years ago and reflecting on each of these last four years in
In ways we could have never imagined…
Through events no one would have ever predicted…
We were confronted by a litany of global and national challenges not seen in
A pandemic that changed our lives and took the lives of those we loved;
An insurrection in our nation’s Capital that undermined the safety of our
democracy and tested our civic faith;
An unprovoked war in Ukraine that sought to defy world order and instead
compounded the highest inflation rates in more than 40 years; and
The reversal of settled law that protected and ensured women’s rights to
reproductive healthcare after nearly 50 years.
Despite this time of unprecedented peril, our administration led by our Governor
Lou Leon Guerrero, pushed forward with steady and focused determination to do
the work of the people, the work of Guam.
Through hard work and dedication, our elected leaders, public servants, civic
leaders, residents and businesspeople, came together to change the course of our
island and our government for the better.
Our island came together in aid to our military and protected thousands of service
members aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt at the start of the pandemic. Our
guardsmen and women stood side-by-side with their counterparts from throughout
the nation to ensure a peaceful transition of power in our nation’s capital, while
many of us were still in disbelief of the events of January 6. Construction and
transportation workers kept our economy and our island open during its grimmest
times. And front liners from all sectors of our island – from healthcare and public
safety to grocery stores and restaurants, came together to support one another and
Through it all, we remembered our promises, we kept our word, and we delivered.
We said we would clean-up the finances of our government and we did – paying
off a decades-old general fund deficit without borrowing.
We said we’d pay tax refunds faster than at any other time in our island’s history
and we did – tax refunds are now paid within weeks of filing.
We said we‘d strengthen our partnership with the federal government and we did.
We demonstrated our credibility and Guam’s reliability, and that has resulted in the
correction of long-standing inequities so that EITC is now fully funded, and we
receive parity for Medicaid on Guam. We also ended two federal receiverships at
Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center and the Department of
Corrections–respectively, with the last–Guam Solid Waste in its final stages.
Together, we focused on economic sustainability and development; pushing
resources to aid our tourism industry; empowering business leaders to diversify our
economy; tackling the mammoth challenges of our permitting and licensing
systems; and ensuring that federal contractors pay their fair share of taxes…
And we returned employment numbers to pre-pandemic levels by ensuring that
construction and transportation industries always remained open.
We invested in vital public services for you, and because of our fiscal discipline
and increased collections, budgets for public safety, health and education have
never been higher.
We did this to provide the dignity of fair pay to our first responders in healthcare
and public safety, and to our teachers, who nurture our most precious resource –
our children. Those investments must expand if our government is to be responsive
and able to meet the expectations and of our people.
And now, you have given us the opportunity to continue our work.
In the coming year we will push for the full repair of Oceanview and F.B. Leon
Guerrero middle schools and construction of Simon Sanchez High School. But we
must also work closely with the Guam legislature and the Guam Education Board
to change an outdated system that has allowed the disrepair of school facilities
throughout the island for years and years. We know that our families deserve better.
We will work hard to restore the faith of those who served our island and our
country, and we will open a Veterans Center to improve services and continue our
work to expand veterans programs with federal authorities.
And because we are a community of people that still believes our best days are
ahead… We know we must all embrace sustainable development.
We are making significant investments in solar and renewable energy to decrease
our reliance on foreign oil and lower your power bills.
We must expand access to safe drinking water and affordable wastewater systems
by embracing new technologies and investing in infrastructure. We must respond to
the increased demand for affordable housing and make housing development more
cost effective—all while protecting the safety of our drinking water.
For far too many, a safe home is an ideal that feels too far away…
To help bridge this gap, our administration reconstituted the Interagency Council
on Homelessness, launched the Office of Homelessness Assistance and Poverty
Prevention, and expanded relief programs to distribute food and supplies. Though
it began as a part of our pandemic response – at a time when our homeless
residents were especially vulnerable and susceptible to disease, our work had to
expand and provide mortgage, utility and rent relief programs to those in need.
We are our brother’s keeper. Born to this land and beholden to each other. But our
pledge to the vulnerable is not a blank check nor is it a matter of charity. It is a
matter of responsibility.
Guam can be a place of prosperity for everyone willing to work for it–for the
entrepreneur who dreams and labors…
for the mother who waits tables to pay her way through college…
for the dad working two jobs…
for the elderly woman living on a fixed income after a lifetime of work.
And yes, for the homeless searching for the tools to build a better life.
Until all of them can prosper—our mandate to work must carry on.
Moreover, no period of economic security can last if our justice system cannot
keep us safe.
We must focus on decreasing the number of repeat offenders in both the criminal
and juvenile justice systems. With an open mind, I look forward to working with
the Attorney General and supporting his efforts to reduce crime and meet the
expectations of our community – a Guam with safe streets and safe neighborhoods.
But I am also convinced we must increase therapeutic services, investing in
rehabilitative counseling, and vocational training as part of this effort. We must
also be at the forefront deploying proven tools to keep our kids off the streets and
out of jail.
I know this work is daunting and that no one can do it alone. As I prepare each day
to work on behalf of Guam and her people I reflect on my responsibility, my sworn
obligation, and duty to lead.
I draw my inspiration from all those that worked to make our home better than it
was before – the immigrants that fled tyranny and hardship for the safety of their
family under the US and Guam flags…
The parents who sacrificed day in and day out, working multiple jobs to provide an
education for their children—an education that wasn’t readily available to them…
The men and women fighting every day in recovery against the ills of drugs and
the horrors of addiction, trying to find a new path to make-up for lost time and lost
And I am inspired most of all by the legacies of our greatest generation—those that
transformed a war-torn island filled with loss into one of the most progressive and
developed islands in the world….
What strength must they have drawn upon to move past the experience of violence,
hunger, trauma and despair.
That strength lives on in us…
And we remember what our parents and grandparents taught us by the example of
Guam is an amazing place.
We are a people of shared destiny.
And our families are our greatest resources, requiring our attention and deserving
of our protection and love.
It is far too easy and sometimes all too common for us to speak about all that is
wrong with our island. Many of the solutions to our greatest challenges will require
fresh perspectives, an open-mind and innovation. Other solutions are rooted in the
legacy of our past, things that have served us well before.
But, to move forward, we must first step back, and recognize all the efforts made in
our past that were responsible for making our island what it is today. We must
remember those who harnessed the power of our potential–knowing that we live in
one of the most isolated places on earth—taking risks but learning from our
mistakes—acknowledging that the only true failure was the failure to try.
Though our democracy is young, our time as the people of this land stretches back
through millennia – as leaders, we are the thread connecting one generation to the
My dear people of Guam, it is with great pride and joy that I stand before you this
afternoon pledging to continue to work on your behalf, and building on the
progress we have made during the last four years.
I will continue to be guided by the wisdom of the leaders of Guam that have gone
before me — aware that our actions today affect not only ourselves but those
generations that will follow us.
Buoyed by faith, steadied by courage, and an unyielding hope—knowing that a
great people will always overcome great challenges, I can proudly say:
This is Guam’s time, and this moment belongs to our people.
God bless you. God Bless Guam.
Si Yu’os Ma’ase