By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The 37th Guam Legislature on Thursday hosted lawmakers from Chuuk, who are visiting Guam as part of the island state's "regional outreach" and efforts to "open the doors for collaboration."
The 13-member delegation was led by Speaker Lester D. Mersai, who said the meeting with their Guam counterparts was the "start of a working relationship" between the two islands' legislatures.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to have open dialogue and collaboration and to discuss the issues impacting our region and look forward to further strengthening our relationship and cooperation with the government of Chuuk for the benefit of all those residing on Guam," said Speaker Therese Terlaje of the Guam Legislature.
Douglas Marar, Mersai's chief of staff, expressed hope that the two legislatures can address issues “that both Guam and Chuuk residents residing in Guam are facing such as crime and migration impact.”
The delegation will also meet with the Chuukese community on Guam to "update them on what is going on back home and touch on issues, offer words of encouragement, create ways to help people, and find solutions for the issues they are facing so that they know that their leaders are not stuck in Chuuk."
Both speakers acknowledged the Pacific Judicial Conference, especially on topics of family violence and the education system.
Mersai said the legislature is working with their national government to build a strong education foundation both on Guam and Chuuk, where early childhood development programs are not available.
Mersai and Maras were joined by other members of the 16th Chuuk State Legislature including Wayne Olap, Andrew May, Jesse P. William, Hadley A. Francis, Narciso Sebastian, Arthur Irons II, Keswick Matus, Richiosy Pangas Chipen, Raymond Otoko, Junior Nomau and Kerson Billy.