Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Obama to visit Guam?

Obama to visit Guam?

Monday, 01 February 2010 03:43
by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be visiting Guam sometime in March, a confidential source told Variety.

It is still unclear what’s on the president’s agenda, but sources say his presence could provide a big boost to the planned military expansion and diminish opposition to the buildup.

Criticism of the buildup has surfaced following the various community and townhall meetings held by the Joint Guam Program Office, the Office of the Governor, the Guam Legislature and Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo’s office.

While on Guam, Obama is also expected to speak on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Variety sources said.

Bordallo could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But an advance team of secret service agents is expected to arrive on Guam to work with federal and local law enforcement officials to coordinate and implement the necessary security measures for the protection of the president and the first lady.

Final approval and execution of protection protocol would be the sole responsibility of the United States Secret Service.

“We’ve been asking President Obama to come to Guam for some time now. He’ll get a first hand look at how special our island is and what this massive military buildup will do to our island community,” said Senator Rory Respicio.

“If he does come here, we have a great opportunity to express our community’s hopes and fears with what this military buildup will bring to our community. And I’m sure we will come out in full force and give him the Chamorro hospitality,” he added.

The president recently addressed Congress in his first State of the Union speech since taking office on Jan. 20, 2009.

Bordallo, who attended the congressional address, said Obama touched on many important issues affecting the nation.

“In the speech, the President outlined the success of initiatives to jumpstart the weakening economy including H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In our community alone, this bill has provided over $220 million in financial assistance as well as $60 million in tax credits paid in full by the U.S. Treasury, and created or saved over 500 jobs on Guam,” said Bordallo.

“I will continue to work with the President and my colleagues in Congress to continue promoting job creation through investments in small businesses, green jobs, clean energy, and improvements to infrastructure. I remain confident in President Obama, his administration, and his focus on revitalizing the American economy,” Bordallo said.

For his part, Respicio said Obama has big goals to change America, just as Guam is on the brink of big change.

“As one of the most pro-military communities, as measured by enlistment numbers, we join the rest of America in uniting in our commitment to protection and security. Strengthening the U.S. presence in the Pacific Region, however, cannot come at the cost of destroying our culture, our environment and our way of life,” Respicio said.

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