Democrats defeat resolution seeking to end Guam's health emergency status
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam Republicans have failed to wrangle the Democrats' support to adopt a resolution that would end the island's public health emergency status.
The 36th Guam Legislature defeated Resolution 291-36 by a 7-6 vote on Thursday.
Only the resolution's sponsors voted in favor of terminating Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's public health emergency declaration, which has been running for two years. The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Chris Duenas, Sens. Anthony Ada, Frank F. Blas Jr., Joanne M. Brown, James C. Moylan, and Telo T. Taitague
Speaker Therese Terlaje, Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes, Sens. Telena Cruz Nelson, Sabina Flores Perez, Clynt E. Ridgell, Amanda L. Shelton and Jose “Pedo” Terlaje voted 'no."
Sen. Joe S. San Agustin and Sen. Mary Camacho Torres were absent during the session.
Acting Gov. Josh Tenorio issued the following statement on the failure of Resolution No. 291-36:
“Tonight, Speaker Therese Terlaje, Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes, and Senators Amanda Shelton, Telena Nelson, Sabina Perez, Clynt Ridgell, and Pedo Terlaje, safeguarded our ability to deliver services and relief to the people of Guam. Through their diligence and compassion,
"I am pleased to announce the continuation of the National Guard response, compensation for our front liners responding to this emergency, and the delivery of food and nutrition assistance to our island’s most vulnerable.
"These senators recognized that the public health emergency declaration is a tool needed by our exhausted front liners to continue providing much-needed services to our community. We express our immense gratitude to the brave men and women who continue to hold the line against Covid-19 as well as the people of Guam for the everyday actions they have taken to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
In a separate statement, the Democratic Party of Guam said the Democratic lawmakers prioritized "the health and welfare of our people over the election-year political theater."
"While the Republicans try to justify postponing their ever-so-urgent need to end the emergency until next week, next month, or three months from now, we continue to pray that this downward trend continues, and we are safely out of the woods," party leaders said in a statement.
"We overcame three surges, we protected our fragile healthcare system, and we continue to fight this pandemic. We did this together—and together, we will overcome. We thank all the frontline workers who stepped up to serve our community and Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero for her efforts to keep our island safe."
The Progressive Democrats of Guam said the resolution's defeat was a victory for the working people of Guam as it saved the island's emergency allotment under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. "We applaud the excellent presentation by administration officials, who were able to dispel misleading and false information being spread in the community," said Julian Janssen, Chapter Leader of the Progressive Democrats of Guam.
"We also extend our sincerest thanks to the Democratic Caucus of the Guam Legislature, which stood united to keep our community safer and ensure that many working-class families will keep their supplemental SNAP benefits."