Camacho back in the political game, seeking an end to governance of 'fear'
Camacho-Ada team announces bid for gubernatorial race
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Former two-term governor Felix Camacho today officially announced his decision to go back to the campaign trail, firing an opening salvo against the incumbent administration's Covid-19 mandates which he said were anchored on “fear.”
"I cannot simply stand on the sidelines and watch our people suffer," Camacho said, declaring his bid for this year’s gubernatorial race as the Republican Party of Guam’s standard-bearer, with Sen. Tony Ada as his running mate.
"The question has always been 'why?' Why would you run for governor again?" Camacho said during a press conference held at the Republican Party's headquarters in Tamuning. "Through the years I’ve always said I'm done. I have publicly stated that I do not want to go back (into politics) again. But there comes a time and season, such as time as this, when you got to make a call, you got to make a decision."
Camacho was Guam’s seventh governor, who served eight years from 2003 to 2011. He is the son of Carlos Camacho, the island’s first governor, who served from 1969 to 1975.
In his last state of the island address, Camacho considered his directive to change “Guam to Guahan” as his legacy.
Since the end of his second term, Camacho had retreated from the political limelight until 2016 when he ran against Democratic Madeleine Bordallo to represent Guam's at-large congressional district. He was narrowly defeated by a 53-47 vote.
Camacho said he has decided to leave the “comfort, safety and joy” of retirement to “restore the freedom of choice that has been taken away from the people” through the Covid-19 restrictions and imposition of vaccines, masking and segregation of the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
“We need to live. We need to breathe, and as human beings, we need to be together. We are social beings. We are not meant to be separate, which has led to so many social ills. The people are hurting” he said.
Camacho slammed Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's adoption of the Biden administration's “narrative and game plan,” which came with mandates that stir "fear," polarize the population, and impose economic sanctions through lockdowns.
"The word fear is paralyzing," he said. "Every aspect of our lives is touched by big government. Throughout the nation and the world, fear has been used by governments to control our lives. It has compelled us as individuals to comply with government mandates for the vaccine, for masks, for social distancing, for isolation and for quarantine."
Such directives, he said, have not lived up to the promise that “everything will be OK.”
“And so there is real reality check there. Let’s look at what has been really happening—the efficacy of vaccine and masks and all these other things,” he said. “People are looking for transparency, looking for truth. What is the truth in all these?”
Ada, who is running for lt. governor, said it’s time to start ”trusting our people to know the right thing to do” and lift the Covid-19 related mandates.
“What has been happening is that our people have not been given the benefit of the doubt to do what is right, to do what they need to do to protect themselves and their families,” Ada said. “It’s time to give our people that choice, that freedom do what they want to do with their family. The government will not always be there for them.”
While acknowledging that it was difficult to say how he would have handed the pandemic if he were the governor today, Camacho said he would have followed the lead of other states that have veered away from federal directives.
“I can only look at red states such as Florida, Texas and South Dakota,” Camacho said. “There have been a lot of success stories where they have been able to manage the situation, keep the economy alive and people employed.”
The Camacho-Ada team is expected to run uncontested in the Republican primary.
Sen. Frank Blas admitted to having aspired to run for governor but gave up on his plan in order to pave the way for Camacho’s candidacy.
On the Democratic camp, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio are seeking reelection. It was not clear at this time if they will be challenged in the primary.
How will the Republican Party’s team match the Democratic Party's billion-dollar campaign?
“I think that there will be a primary in the Democratic camp and as we head to the general elections, that money they may have raised between now and then will be spent,” Camacho said.
“I liken this to David versus Goliath. It took a single stone to bring the giant down. Money isn’t everything. You can’t buy the hearts of the people. You have to win the hearts of the people and that’s what we intend to do,” he added.
Former governor Eddie Calvo endorsed Camacho.
“We do believe a lot of resources available are coming from the RNC that will assist in the campaign for the gubernatorial, congressional and senatorial race,” Calvo said.