December 29, 2017
Hagåtña — The Office of the Governor has published a request for proposal soliciting a firm or organization to provide multiple lobbying and consulting services in the areas authorized by Guam law.
“We’re already at a disadvantage as we don’t have a vote in Congress. And in my seven years of visiting Washington DC it has become more apparent that we need to have a constant and consistent presence; people who are able to track conversations, voice our objections, and inject our concerns and solutions into the discussion before new policies are cemented,” Governor Calvo stated.
“We can see from the H2B visa situation that representation is imperative as federal laws and regulations, or their interpretations, change. With a lobbyist, we can effectively communicate our concerns; our message will have a constant presence in the Capitol.”
The rejection of H2B visa applications is one of the immediate issues facing our island. The change in U.S. CIS’ interpretation of existing policy literally required an act of Congress just to ensure it didn’t continue to threaten national defense. A lack of skilled foreign workers has slowed construction projects and meant contractors didn’t have the labor force needed to take on new projects, such as the Guam Memorial Hospital maternity ward renovation, and even a Department of Defense project.
In the meantime, the U.S. CIS and its attorneys insist that nothing has changed.
“The H2B issue has reached a crisis point. We’ve been knocking on doors, sending letters, and making phone calls. The President’s Chief of Staff is working with us but the bureaucracy continues to cross our path with red tape,” Governor Calvo stated.
The contractor’s immediate attention is required on the following:
A. Assistance with drafting proposed language and persuading Congress to include provisions in the appropriate authorizing legislation that are favorable to Guam’s alien labor certification program, including H2-B Work Visas.
B. Assistance with obtaining Congressional approval for the issuance of alien visa waivers for tourists traveling to or though Guam.
C. Assistance with obtaining Congressional consent to allow for input by Guam on any renewal or amendment of the Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia.
D. Monitoring activity in Congress and the federal Executive Branch Administration that has a potential impact on Guam and the Pacific and communicating that information in a timely manner to the Governor’s Chief of Staff or other designee. This would include hearings, legislation, executive orders, memoranda to or from Executive Branch agencies/departments/offices, and issues related to regulations, guidance, and/or guidelines, including, but not limited to Federal Register notices.
E. Review legislative policy statements adopted by other federal, state, or territorial government lobbying groups and health related organizations and associations for the purpose of identifying issues which may either positively or negatively affect Guam. These issues may include: direct appropriations or grants, legislative caucuses, political action committee, public safety, law enforcement, business development, infrastructure improvements, telecommunications, transportation, environmental, affordable housing, economic development, revenue enhancement, annexation, mandates and other issues.