The Action PAC Inc today unveiled its list of senatorial candidates it will support in the general elections. The list includes 10 Republicans and two Democrats.
"The Political Action Committee members include concerned citizens, partner organizations, and local citizens concerned with what's going on in our local community and our economy. We want to do what's best to bring our island back," said Laura Dacanay, executive director of the newly formed PAC.
The coalition is endorsing former Senator Vincent "Tony" Ada (R), John Ananich (D), Michelle Armenta (R), former Senator Frank Blas Jr. (R), Vincent Borja (R), Former GPD Chief Joseph "Ji" Cruz (R), former senator Chris Duenas (R), Joaquin "Ken" Leon Gurrero (R), Sen. James Moylan (R), Sen.Telo Taitague (R), Sen. Therese Terlaje (D) and Sen. Mary Torres (R).
Only 50 percent of the senatorial candidates responded to a questionnaire that the PAC sent out. Responses came from newcomers, 73 percent and only 27 percent incumbent Democrats. A total of 77 percent of responses came from the Republican party.
"We need to elect strong leaders who will support initiatives that Action PAC has put out. We vetted the candidates who support our initiatives. Candidates received questionnaires for both incumbents and new candidates. The panel that reviewed them kept an open mind with all the information that was received to ensure fairness during the review," Dacanay said.
The panel included Dacanay but other members were not identified.
The PAC focused on legislative candidates this election year. Village mayors are not part of the selection. Asked about future gubernatorial elections, Dacanay said, "We only focused on senatorial candidates-at this time."
The initiatives are:
Decrease the size of the Government of Guam
Improve transparency in all levels of the government of Guam
Support the military build-up
Support a part-time legislature.
Rollback the business privilege tax from 5 percent to 4 percent immediately.
Nine incumbent senators did not reply to the questionnaire. Two incumbent Democrats, senators Regine Biscoe Lee and Louisa Borja Muna, are not seeking reelection.
The Political Action Committee partnered with the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Guam Contractors Association, the Guam Association of Realtors, the Guam Women's Chamber of Commerce, and the Korean Chamber of Commerce.
Sen. Kelly Marsh Taitano (D) said, "the survey was very limiting."
"It comprises seven questions that only allow for a 'yes' or 'no' answer. While five others only allowed for 350 characters to explain one's position. Although I am very interested in answering the survey because an informed decision far outweighs an uninformed one, however, the survey did not provide an opportunity to provide a fully informed discussion of any of the reasoning as to long-term or potentially negative consequences, federal laws that may run counter to a proposed local measure, or other reasoning," Marsh-Taitano said.
As a senator, she said, she takes her responsibilities very seriously.
"For days, weeks, or months, I research and think about each bill that makes it to our session floor. There can be unintended consequences or something that was not studied or researched thoroughly within a bill that may make it unfavorable to support or other considerations. Being able to discuss relevant considerations can help others understand why decisions were made," she said.
She said she listened to the Action PAC's initial press conference and appreciated that "many voices spoke and spoke from shared perspectives that, at the same time, had a range of approaches in how different members look at particular interests such as right-sizing the government or rebuilding our economy. I am interested in being able to provide information regarding my platform and my potential approaches to carrying out work in the next term. In this light, I am writing them to provide a brief overview of myself and to provide my responses to their questions."
Terlaje, one of the only two Democrats, who received the endorsement, thanked Action PAC Inc. "for recognizing my work for transparency in government and in support of small businesses on Guam. While very few people align wholly on sets of issues with any particular candidate for office, I appreciate that Action PAC, Inc. recognizes that diversity in thought and values, while finding some common ground, can be good for the people of Guam," she added.
Action PAC is a newly formed advocacy group seeking to affect change at the legislative level. It represents about 40,000 of the island’s workforce.
"We know that there are 38,000 that are unemployed right now. We stand for all of the employees of Guam. We need everyone to vote to help get our community back. Together, we can affect change. Please support candidates who support our causes," Dacanay said.