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The race for Congress: Four candidates eyeing Guam delegate seat


By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Four candidates are aiming to be elected as Guam’s nonvoting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Three of them – Democrats Ginger Cruz, Michael San Nicolas and Amanda Shelton – will have their names on the ballot in the primary election on Aug. 3. The top vote-getter in that race will advance to the general election, which will be held on Nov. 5.  

The incumbent delegate, James Moylan, is running uncontested on the Republican side, so his name will not be on the ballot until the general election when he will face off against the Democrat who garners the most votes in the primary.

Dave Lotz and Ken Leon Guerrero, who previously expressed their intention to join the fray, have dropped out of the race.

The Pacific Island Times asked the candidates about their priorities should they be successful in their bid for the office. We also asked the incumbent, Moylan, and former delegate, San Nicolas, about their accomplishments when they held the office.


Ginger Cruz: ‘Delegate should be agent of change for Guam’

The stakes have never been higher. With the military hardening defenses to protect its personnel and infrastructure, Guam is behind the curve in getting federal resources and attention to protect the people of Guam.

 If elected, Cruz said she would work to elevate Guam’s place in the federal system from the Department of the Interior to the White House.

   After more than a decade of D.C. experience, she knows that in a Congress plagued by gridlock, Guam must have the tools to fix its problems by both passing laws and influencing executive policy at an agency level.

As America’s hub and with the world’s attention on the island, she said Guam must fight for federal policy changes that give the island the advantage and ensure effective interagency coordination of our issues.

“This is the time to ensure that this buildup is good for Guam – that our schools are improved, our infrastructure is stronger, our health care is better and crime rates are brought down. We are the only ones who can leverage our value to build a better future for our people. We cannot expect others to do it for us. We must be the agents of our own change,” she said.

Cruz believes Guam needs a seat at the table on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs congressional committees.

“We need to benefit from U.S. investment with its allies to bring more reasonable airfares, and lower prices at the grocery store through expanded regional trade. We need to bolster tourism and collaborate with allies on regional defense,” she said.

Cruz vowed to work to expand workforce development, advanced manufacturing and hi-tech industries,; to secure Supplemental Security Income,; bring more veterans’ services to Guam,; and raise the quality of life for everyone.

Cruz believes the delegate should be an agent of change for Guam, like the great former delegates who fought for U.S. citizenship and the right to elect the island’s governor.

Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in public policy from Johns Hopkins University. She started her career in Guam news media and worked under the administrations of governors Joseph Ada and Carl Gutierrez. She moved to Washington, D.C., and was deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She then oversaw reconstruction efforts in Iraq, answering to the secretaries of State and Defense, and congressional committees. She returned to Guam in 2019.

She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a former consultant to the United Nations.



James Moylan: ‘Our work is far from over’


Moylan said his current term in Congress has delivered victories such as over $3.2 billion in economic activity for the island, the extension of the H-2B program, securing funds for Guam Customs to start the process of constructing the long-awaited screening facility at the port, a pumper truck along with over a million dollars in equipment for local firefighters, and addressing improvements for veterans care.

“However, I would state the most important achievement of our office was addressing and closing hundreds of constituent cases,” Moylan said.

“What many people don’t realize is that a good percentage of the responsibility of a congressional office is casework, and our team has helped so many residents secure passports, official documents and visas. We have gotten red tape removed in some instances, and successfully attained extensions on expired exemptions.”

Moylan cited an instance, in which he pulled strings through various federal entities to help a one-year-old child secure a passport to get a time-sensitive and life-saving surgery in Manila. “Hearing that she is doing well today continues to bring tears to my eyes,” he said.

Moylan said his office has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bring many of its programs to Guam, and assisted 300 manamko’ who were seeking grants to repair their homes.

“Our office increased the budget for the Guam Missile Defense by over $100 million in 2024 and is working toward getting more funds added for 2025,” Moylan said.

“In the past 17 months, we have started conversations on Medicare Portability, while seeking studies to determine if linking with the U.S. customs zone would help reduce our cost of goods,” he added.

“We have also gotten the discussions on adding the Philippines to Guam’s visa waiver further advanced,” he added.

If reelected, Moylan said he would “ensure Guam is prioritized and that we enhance the many seeds we have planted. Our work is far from over.”

Moylan serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. He was the first Republican to win the seat on Guam in nearly 30 years.

Before his election to Congress, Moylan served in the Guam legislature from 2019 to 2023. He is a U.S. Army veteran and was a parole officer at the Guam Department of Corrections. 

Moylan has more than two decades of experience in the private sector, including in health care, financial services and insurance.

Moylan holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Guam.

Michael San Nicolas: ‘There is more to do’

San Nicolas served as Guam’s congressional delegate from January 2019 to January 2023. Since leaving the congressional office, San Nicolas said progress on Supplemental Social Security Income for Guam has stalled. This is among the issues he hopes to pursue if he gets elected again.

Other items on his platform include the expansion of veterans’ benefits and its inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act; and Guam’s inclusion in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act by “building on the work” of Robert Celestial and the Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors.

“We need to support this organization to get Guam included in the downwinders compensation,” said San Nicolas, who served as vice chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.

He also aims to reinstate a proposal, introduced during his term on Congress, to allow “native recognition” for Guam contractors, which would open set-aside contracting opportunities for eligible business owners.    San Nicolas also vows to advocate for Medicare portability to access medical treatment in the Philippines.

San Nicolas said during his term in Congress, he resolved the long-standing war claims problem;, got the federal government’s Medicaid share raised to 87 percent;, and restored freely associated states migrants’ eligibility for Medicaid.

Other accomplishments included the federal government’s reimbursement of earned income tax credit to Guam; securing benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange while stationed on Guam; tens of millions of federal dollars in child care assistance; Guam’s inclusion in the federal government’s rental assistance program; securing over half a billion dollars in funding for LEAP Programs, Prugråman Salåppe, and municipal funds that gave Guam’s mayors a year’s budget worth of additional money.

For the education sector, San Nicolas said his work helped the Guam Department of Education receive over $150 million; and secured millions for the University of Guam and Guam Community College to reimburse student tuition.

In 2018, San Nicolas was the first candidate to defeat Madeleine Bordallo, who served in Congress for 16 years. In 2022, San Nicolas ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor.

San Nicolas served in the Guam legislature from 2013 to 2018. Prior to his political career, he worked as a staff member at the legislature, as an investment banker and a high school teacher.     

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guam in 2004. He attended Father Duenas Memorial School, attended John F. Kennedy High School and graduated from Southern High School in 1998.

Amanda Shelton: ‘Priority is constituent services’


If she gets elected, Shelton said her offices in Washington and Guam would be appropriately staffed, with infrastructure in place to deliver timely and effective constituent services. “It is what I did when I was first elected to the legislature years ago and it will be a priority again,” she said.

Her priorities include updating Guam’s “economic paradigm” to address concerns resulting from larger military footprint and at the same time create more long-term and sustainable opportunities for businesses and better-paying jobs for workers. 

“The billions invested in construction by the military today can be a foundation for augmenting our existing service economy. It is an opportunity to rebuild bigger and better the once thriving middle class of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations,” Shelton said.

“Opportunities to accomplish this exist at DARP (the research and development arm of the Department of Defense), the State Department, the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Commerce, Agriculture, and of course within the committees of Congress. They exist because we are critical to the defense and security of our entire nation and our allies across the Asia-Pacific,” she added.

Shelton noted that capturing the opportunities created by the billions of dollars being committed to Guam for national defense will also strengthen domestic security.  “It can create the tax revenue to address issues of crime, drugs, broken schools, health care, roads, and power and water systems in dire need of upgrade and hardening,” Shelton said.

After three terms in the legislature, Shelton said she is seeking  voters’ approval “to take to Washington my experience, my ideas, my voice and my proven ability to work with the federal bureaucracy and other elected office holders to deliver innovative sustainable solutions to our most pressing problems here at home.”

Shelton was first elected to the Guam legislature in 2018 and currently serves as the majority leader and legislative secretary. She has committee oversight of the airport, seaport, tourism, higher education, parks, youth, women’s issues, and senior citizens.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication and a master’s in public administration from the University of Guam. She is a 2008 graduate of the Academy of

She served as press secretary for former Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo and policy advisor and chief of staff at the Guam legislature. She is a graduate of the Council of State Governments Western Legislative Academy.

Shelton is a member of the Guam Diamond Lions Club and Soroptimist International of the Marianas, a former vice president of the Guam Memorial Hospital Volunteers Association, and a past president of the University of Guam Alumni Association. She also volunteers as a CCD teacher and is a former Guam Girl Scouts troop leader.


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