Former speaker officially announces run for delegate seat
By Aurora Kohn
The U.S. government must learn what Guam needs in exchange for what the island contributes to the nation, former Speaker Judi Won Pat said today.
“We know that Guam is important. The United States is here because Guam is important," said Won Pat, who officially announced her candidacy for Guam's delegate seat in Congress.
"We need to educate Congress and the federal departments and agencies about our needs and to support what we need," she added.
Speaking on Guam’s right to self-determination, Won Pat said it is critical that “there be an education program, a dialogue so that people would know what they want and what they would choose and that will be then the job of the delegate to take what the people want to Washington.”
Won Pat, a teacher by profession and the daughter of the first Guam delegate to U.S. Congress, Antonio B. Won Pat, served as the speaker of the Guam Legislature from 2009 to 2017. She served as a senator from 1994 and 2003 and from 2005 to 2017.
Won Pat also served as the Sinajana delegate to the 1977 Guam Constitutional Convention when she was 27 years old.
“Supporting our families, strengthening our economy and protecting our environment.” Won Pat said these would be her top three priorities if elected as the next Guam delegate to the U.S. Congress.
The former speaker, a Democrat, said she decided to run for Guam delegate because she wants to address the problems plaguing the island.
Among others, she cited the need for services for Guam veterans, resources to help Guam families, building a ship repair facility that would generate jobs, resources for sustainable energy, the need to protect the aquifer as well as Guam’s marine resources and the need for “fairness and equity” for Guam, referring to statutory benefits that have been withheld from Guam residents because of its political status.
“It would not be based on my personal choice but the people’s choice,” she added.
The incumbent delegate, Michael San Nicolas, is not seeking another term in Congress. He is running for governor instead.
Won Pat will compete with Sen. Telena Nelson for the Democratic Party's nomination during the Aug. 17 primary. Sen. James Moylan is the Republican Party's congressional candidate.
Won Pat said her proven ability to work “collaboratively” with people regardless of party affiliations sets her apart from other congressional candidates.
“There’s only one delegate, and that delegate represents everybody on Guam, regardless of their party affiliation,” Won Pat said.
She said her long years of experience in the legislature and her long track record as a fighter for Guam's interests are what she brings to the table as a candidate for Guam delegate.
“I have been a public servant for over 25 years. I have worked with regional and international leaders and the great thing that is important in any leadership is to be able to work across the aisle," Won Pat said.
"To be able to look at an individual and not at any party affiliation but rather that they have the same goals and interests for our people-- that’s my leadership style. I listen, I dialogue and I work collaboratively with people. When there’s something I am fighting for, I don’t give up, I don’t quit,” she added.