by Sabrina Salas Matanane from KUAM.com
Guam - The final showdown between the two gubernatorial teams was much more structured and organized than their verbal scrap held the night before at the Hyatt and hosted by the Guam Medical Association.
University of Guam Field House was packed with supporters from both camps. They were asked a total of 18 questions. In his opening statements former Governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez talked about his experience and how the stakes are high with the military buildup. He added that the Guam needed a seasoned leader, someone with experience in crisis management and a leader than can pull the community together. His opponent Senator Eddie Baza Calvo began by thanking his supporters. The republican candidate for governor then began to attack his opponent's record reminding them about the Gutierrez Administration when there was "hanom taki", a 38% graduation rate for high school students and 10,000 people who were unemployed. Calvo's running-mate Senator Ray Tenorio then began to speak saying this election is about "character not charm".
When asked "If you are elected, how will your administration address critical issues and concerns in public K-12 education?" Gutierrez responded that he will work the Bureau of Budget Management and Research to ensure the Department of Education receives its timely allotments. Senator Calvo however reminded the public that Gutierrez transferred $2 million out of education when he came into office.
When asked "How will our administration work to preserve Guam's culture?' Calvo responded saying he would spend more money on the Department of Education to promote the Chamorro culture in school. He added that he would support the construction of a Chamorro museum, Gef Pago and the Hurao Academy. Calvo added that he would also work with village mayors to maintain their unique identity and would work to revitalize Hagatna. Democrat Gutierrez said "Language is the umbilical chord of our culture".
When asked "How will your administration work with these agencies or other stakeholders to improve law enforcement on Guam?" Gutierrez started by referring to public law that mandates law enforcement officers receive their 10% increments over the next four years. Gutierrez said he will work to make sure they get their necessary raises. The democrat gubernatorial candidate also said that if elected he would pull together Guam's law enforcement and the military's to be part of "community policing". Gutierrez also talked about how under his administration streetlights were put up for safety reasons but it was this administration that took them down. Republican Calvo responded by calling Gutierrez out, saying that when he was Governor he increased the number of police officers to watch him, that under his administration there was a record number of rapes and murders. Calvo said if elected "there will be more police officers". He added that he would work to improve technology, communication and interconnectivity with law enforcement. He added that he supports more neighborhood patrol programs and would open more police kobans.
During the set of questions for candidates for Lt. Governor, the first question posed was "if elected, how will your leadership team improve and support adult and higher education on Guam?" Senator Frank Aguon Jr, approached the podium with a copy of their policy platform, ASAP Guam". Holding it in the air Aguon said they will work collectively and collaboratively with the University of Guam and the Guam Community College to make sure they identify the opportunities and challenges to get good job for families. In Senator Ray Tenorio's response he said "he showed you a book, our platform is n our heart". Calvo added that under a Calvo Tenorio administration they will create new scholarships among other things. He added that Calvo helped put together the apprenticeship program and that together if elected they will help everyone, not a few.
When asked "How will your administration manage our precious lands and work with landowners?" Tenorio said their plan first would say Pagat is not sale. He added that they will protect Pagat and that the Department of Defense should stay within its existing blueprint. Senator Aguon talked about the Chamorro Land Trust Commission and that under a Gutierrez Aguon administration it would be a priority to ensure those properties are immediately surveyed.
When asked "How will your administration work to reduce crime?" Aguon responded by saying they would work with village mayors and law enforcement agencies to recognize what law enforcement heads have to do for the buildup. He added they would partner with military security forces to be part of the community. Senator Tenorio said you will have a Lt. Governor who was a cop. He added that former Governor Carl Gutierrez had more police officers protecting him than on the streets. He also responded to Gutierrez' earlier statements about streetlights, saying their were "chandeliers in Agana Heights". Tenorio ended saying more cops means more safety.
When asked "How will your administration improve Guam's economy and provide for long term growth?" Calvo started by referring to Gutierrez record as Governor saying unemployment was at 15% and how 10,000 people were unemployed. Calvo added that under his administration they will take advantage of the buildup and implement the classroom to careers initiative. He said he will go to the Department of Education, University of Guam and the Guam Community College and ask them to build a curriculum so that our young people can take advantage of the new economy. Gutierrez responded to the question saying we need to get more Visa Waiver programs for Guam and work with the airlines. He says if you bring in more tourists it's guaranteed the economy will get better.
When asked "what will your administration do to improve Guam-Federal relations?' Gutierrez started by saying when he was Governor he doesn't believe any one had a better relationship, referring to how he was able to bring former President Bill Clinton to Guam. He said that we have been ignored in Washington D.C. and do not have a face there. He says its not Bordallo's job, he said it's the Governor of Guam's job to network," This face will be the face of Guam in the federal government," Gutierrez said. In response Senator Calvo said "his face is so great the federal government took their kids out of public school." Calvo added that he's friends with Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and would work with her.
When asked "how will your administration work to improve Guam's utilities?" Calvo was first to respond and again referred to when Gutierrez was Governor when GWA had "hanom taki". Calvo said children were drinking water that could kill them. The republican candidate then said under the Consolidated Commission on Utilities there has been vast improvements and that he would work with them and the federal government. He made reference to his bi-partisan trip to the nation's capitol and said that with the help of Congresswoman Bordallo they were able to secure millions in federal money for infrastructure improvements outside the fence. Gutierrez said that he would work with the legislature to allow the Governor to be able to appoint some of the members to the CCU. He also said he recalled when he was Governor that the Guam Environmental Protection Agency shutdown Tropicool which was run by Pepsi. He said while he was trying to fix hanom taki you were selling it to the people.
It was once again turn for the candidates to Lieutenant Governor to be asked questions. When asked "How will your administration work to improve relations with the judiciary?" Senator Aguon said his running mate knows almost everyone in the court by now despite detractors that have tried to take him down he stands here innocent. Aguon then said they need to provide more resources and expand the northern satellite court among other things. Tenorio said that the reason people in the court may know him is because of the number of times he's been indicted and the number of times his agency heads have been indicted. Tenorio added that they need to get the judiciary their resources and bring people and government officials to justice.
When asked "How will your administration work with the Guam legislature?" Calvo was first to answer and asked the crowd at the UOG Field House "How many democrats are here for Calvo Tenorio?", He followed up "I love both sides… that's so important to work with consensus." The republican candidate for governor said he will work with Delegate Bordallo and all sectors of the community he added that during his first week he will meet with the Legislature both minority and majority. He said "Now is the time to come together." Former Governor Carl Gutierrez took the podium and said the only problem when governor was working with the Legislature but come January 1st he is ready and is already working with the Legislature. He cited how he and Senator Ben Pangelinan will work together, "there is no time for petty politics". He added that he has a great working relationship with all the democrats.
The debate ended with both teams coming together shaking hands. Residents are encouraged to read teams respective platforms. To view Gutierrez Aguon's ASAP Guam policy platform log on to voteforguam.com. To read the Calvo Tenorio team's Blueprint 2020 log to calvotenorio.com.