Not only will November 8 decide the fate of Guam’s governorship, but its one congressional delegate seat is also up for grabs. On October 20, the two candidates for delegate of Guam met at the Hyatt Regency Club Resort to debate issues facing the territory. Their discussion mainly focused on military buildup, the political status of Guam, illegal drug trades, and extralegal migration. Republican Senator James Moylan is running against Democrat Judith Won Pat, the former speaker of the Guam Legislature.
As a veteran, Moylan is in favor of military buildup in Guam and the construction of the Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz. He stated that, as Guam’s delegate, he would “explain the importance of Guam’s voice” in Congress by sitting on the Committee on the Armed Forces.
Won Pat’s stance on the issue was from a more economic lens, stating that “There must be a balance to benefit both the military and local community.” This need for “balance,” as she puts it, comes from there being too many jobs and not enough laborers. The military buildup provides new opportunities for local contractors and engineers but takes those workers away from where they are needed in civilian construction.
Won Pat is concerned about the amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl entering the territory but acknowledges the lack of authority the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency possesses to inspect each package. She stated that as the delegate, she would bring attention to this issue so as to confirm the federal government’s “commitment for more resources.”
Moylan stated that he would ensure more resources would go toward the customs agency and rehabilitation programs so as to prevent controlled substances from coming into the territory and help those affected by drug abuse.
In terms of the political status of Guam, Maylan advocated for more educational resources to better familiarize voters with the options for the future of the territory so they may make the decision. He is personally in favor of statehood for Guam and does not oppose the possibility of the status quo.
Won Pat did not state her position on the future of Guam but said that the decision should be left to the CHamoru as the indigenous people of the island. Instead of giving her opinion on statehood, she said: “My job in Washington, DC is not to pick a political status for Guam. The delegate’s job is to make sure the federal policy for Guam is consistent with the overall federal policy on self-determination and sovereignty.”
The last of the main topics discussed was migration and extralegal arrivals of Chinese immigrants from the Northern Mariana Islands. Both Won Pat and Moylan stated that they would advocate for more support to end the influx of migrants. Won Pat would investigate the lack of presence of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, while Moylan would seek support from the Department of Justice for local law enforcement and the Guam National Guard.
Guam citizens will vote for their delegate on November 8.
I found this article on Guam especially interesting since my parents once lived there. Clarissa has done an excellent job of laying out the positions of the candidates and explaining the situation.