Moylan gears up for Washington job
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
By Frank Whitman
Even before he is sworn in as Guam’s nonvoting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, delegate-elect Sen. James Moylan has been preparing almost nonstop to assume the office to which he was elected Nov. 8.
Following a two-week orientation in Washington, D.C., for the 74 new members of the 118th Congress, he has been hiring staff, setting up offices in Guam and in Washington, as well as meeting with stakeholders, constituents and colleagues, and otherwise ensuring he can effectively tackle a number of initiatives immediately following his Jan. 3 inauguration - all while completing his term as a member of the 36th Guam Legislature.
Moylan defeated his Democratic opponent, former speaker Judi Won Pat, in the November race, becoming the first Republican to be elected to the congressional seat in 30 years.
Moylan was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Tumon Bay meeting on Dec. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Guam and recounted the Washington orientation, other meetings he has had since, and outlined his goals and expectations.
He noted the advantage of being a Republican in a Republican-majority House. “We would have control of the committees,” he told Rotarians. “As with my experience in the 35th and the 36th (Guam) Legislatures, if you’re not in the majority, it’s very difficult to get your bills across; it’s difficult for your voice to be heard.”
One of his more significant meetings was arranged with the help of former Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo, a Democrat, who now serves as Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero’s liaison in Washington. Bordallo urged him to meet Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican of South Carolina serving on the House Armed Services Committee, which he did.
“Having that referral from our former congresswoman to a senior ranking member in Congress and having him introduce me to several folks in the armed service division is really a plus that not many people get,” Moylan said. “That’s one of the committees I’m hoping to be part of.”
While committee appointments have yet to be made, House members were asked to submit five committee preferences. In addition to the armed services committee, Moylan’s list includes the homeland security, veterans’ affairs, small business and agriculture committees.
While in Guam, Moylan met with Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, commander of Joint Region Marianas, to discuss the H-2B workforce and the military buildup on Guam.
“We were discussing the multibillions of dollars of contracts,” he said, “and what’s needed for Congress to understand so we don’t drop the ball and we don’t delay with the workforce. Timelines are important for the nation and for our island.”
He also met with Francis Santos, interim superintendent of the Guam Department of Education, to discuss the “needs of GDOE.” He referenced the school-age military dependents who will be moving to Guam with the buildup.
“Where are these kids going to go to school?” he asked. “Is there additional room at DODEA schools? There’s not. Is there enough time to build DODEA schools? Not by the time the Marines are ready to come. A solution needs to be found.”
Former Lt. Gov. Dr. Michael Cruz, executive director of Blue Continent Healthcare Guam, the owner of Guam Regional Medical City, discussed medical care and facilities on Guam. “He was very helpful,” Moylan told the Rotarians.
He also met with former Sen. Carlotta Leon Guerrero, the governor’s chief policy advisor on military and regional affairs, to discuss upcoming Compact of Free Association negotiations. “We understand that there’s more money that needs to be put into this for Guam,” Moylan said.
Moylan said he anticipates a smooth working relationship with the governor, with whom he spoke on the phone shortly after the election and with whom he has scheduled a meeting later in December.
“Although I’m not a sitting congressman yet, the wheels have started to turn,” Moylan said. “By this time when we’re sworn in, we’re expected to go to work.”