By Aurora Kohn
Former Speaker Judi Won Pat said she would fight to secure a seat for Guam at defense discussions, while Sen. James Moylan said he would advocate for Guam’s small businesses.
Won Pat and Moylan, who are vying for the Guam delegate seat in the U.S. Congress, discussed their agenda and their positions on issues regarding real estate and the local economy during a virtual town hall meeting hosted by the Guam Association of Realtors on Thursday.
Won Pat, a Democrat, said it is crucial to have “a strong Guam voice in the defense discussions to make sure our community benefits to the maximum extent on all fronts.”
Moylan said his priorities as the Guam representative would focus on bills that affect the economy, improve and preserve public safety and reduce tax burdens on businesses.
Moylan said the pandemic is no longer about Covid-19. “We are in an economic pandemic emergency. We need the continued support of the federal government. And that’s the voice I can bring to D.C.,” the Republican candidate said.
If elected, Won Pat said she would make sure “federal laws, policies and programs are good for Guam.”
She plans to leverage Guam’s strategic importance to make sure that Guam’s families, economy and environment are protected.
Moylan and Won Pat expressed support for the flood insurance program that allows individuals who own lands in low-lying areas or buyers of homes in flood-prone areas the ability to obtain loans to build or buy these homes.
Both also supported government participation in the secondary mortgage market and measures that ensure the availability of fixed-rate mortgage products to consumers.
“Anything we can do for the homeowner’s financial side is absolutely my goal,” Moylan said.
Won Pat said the availability of fixed-rate mortgage products is “absolutely critical” for home ownership.
“It’s also important that we have strong taxpayer safeguards so that by doing so, then we’ll be able to have a strong mortgage market as well,” she said.
Both candidates said they will not support the repeal of a tax law that allows owners of real estate to defer payment of capital gains tax and other federal liabilities for like property exchanges.
Moylan and Won Pat both expressed support for legislation that allows small businesses to use “common sense” standardized privacy and security requirements in lieu of the implementation of expensive security programs.
“When I was talking to the Guam Contractors Association and even the Guam Trades Academy, they told me that a lot of businesses fail primarily because of information like this, the backroom type of work that needs to be done, the extra employees that they will have to hire to be able to do this and I think that’s unreasonable,” Won Pat said.
For his part, Moylan promised to work toward cutting taxes and getting rid of government burdens and “ridiculous” requirements.
Both candidates gave their nod to proposed tax credits for households that do not itemize their deductions to help them purchase their own homes.
Moylan said he has introduced a similar measure in the 36th Guam Legislature and will ask another senator to reintroduce the bill if it “does not get to the floor in this session.”
“We are complaining about the cost of goods but we are seeing this huge budget in the government of Guam and why aren’t we passing down these savings to the homebuyers?” he asked.
Won Pat said “providing tax credits and tax incentives is under the jurisdiction of the legislature.”
She said she used similar measures to extend assistance to the community when she was a sitting senator. She cited the $10,000 assistance to qualified families buying their first home from the Guam Housing Corp.