The countdown to election day continues. Ahead of Super Tuesday, the most significant of election discourse took place last night at the University of Guam Fieldhouse. Started in 1994 by Public Administration students at UOG, "The Great Debates" have afforded the Island's electorate a chance to further understand the main policy vision of the men and women who have run for the position of Governor of Guam. Prior to this formal debate format, candidate plowed their trade in the scores of pocket meetings from Yigo to Umatac-all in hopes for getting enough support to ascend to the seat as Chief Executive of the U.S. Territory.
This election cycle is not any different than the ones in years past. Though in recent memory, this run for Adelup has been filled with more earned media bashing the integrity of the other candidate and paid media that just only now is filling the airwaves-a sign of Guam's economic reality.
The 2014 race pits a sitting Governor versus a Two-Term Governor. Much has changed in four years that has now made this race about record. But you wouldn't be able to tell that. There has now been two "public" interactions between the two candidates for Governor. Other efforts were not successful to engage the public interaction between Guam's political party candidates. Press releases and terse statements have filled local media in-boxes and fax machines that are filled with more political rhetoric than ever before. Yet, in four days the electorate is being asked to make a decision on our political landscape for the next four years.
Is this acceptable to you and me as a member of the electorate and tax-paying citizens of this great Island? The short answer is no. Something needs to change and quickly.
Public policy discussions on "pocket book" issues related to minimum wage, increasing commodities pricing and job creation were not showcased. The candidates for Governor did not articulate their plan to grow our isolated American economy over the next four years. The two shared little of their respective vision on federal policy, improving the state of healthcare, addressing the growing crime rate and position on growing a modern education system in Micronesia. The chance for the candidates to bring these and other important matters of our citizenry to the fold last night came out flat. The students questions were engaging and important to undecided voters who seem to have been able to now decide on which camp to vote for. Both candidates for Governor came out swinging in defense of their "integrity". Why? After nearly two weeks of defending "integrity", it made no sense to continue such rhetoric on Guam's biggest political stage of the season. The tone could have been set for a lively "debate" on the issues that matter the most to me and you. Did we all better understand the direction of our Island over the next four years?
Guam voters are very sensitive. Guam voters have long memories. Guam voters now have to make a choice. The time is get across their concerns, policy plans and vision came and went. "The Great Debate" did have a winner and an loser. Both camps will argue who did better than the other. The answer to this question will be soon be answered. When? The election for Governor of Guam was won following the final word and handshake. The prize will be a "Super Tuesday" victory and an Inauguration in January 2015.