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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.


NEWS RELEASE September 20, 2001


In a video teleconference today, Congressman Robert A. Underwood, Guam lawmakers and Gutierrez Administration officials swapped views on the grim realities they face in Washington and Guam as they attempt to address Guam's economic troubles.

Congressman Underwood told Speaker Tony Unpingco, Senators Felix Camacho and Mark Forbes and Planning Director Clifford Guzman, Tax Director Joey Duenas and Bureau of Budget and Management Research Director Joe Rivera that Washington is focused almost entirely on the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon and the impending U.S. response. In turn, the Guam officials reiterated the island's worsening conditions in both the public and private sectors.

In light of the thousands of deaths, the great destruction and the wounds inflicted upon the nation as a result of the attacks, it would be very difficult and most indelicate for Guam to come with outstretched hand, the Congressman said, adding that he understands the gravity of Guam's situation and need for help. Any request that might be made for aid must be in line with the effects of the terrorist attacks, he said.

"The first statement that people of Guam ought to make is that they're with the rest of the country in this national crisis. That should be our first resolution -- to offer assistance, rather than to ask for it," the Congressman said.

Congressman Underwood had invited the lawmakers and GovGuam directors to meet face-to-face, via video teleconferencing, in order to align efforts and outline a workable strategy for addressing Guam's economic problems.

"In consideration of the dire economic circumstances that we're faced with, the resolution that the Legislature should present should include an entire range of ideas. I think that's an appropriate framework and I don't think there's any disagreement on the strategy of doing everything we can," Underwood said. "It's a question of beginning a dialogue, which I asked for, and getting accurate data, which I don't have. I can't present the best case for Guam if I don't have good data and good data forecasting."

That information has been promised, as has a prioritized list of federal objectives. "If we can come up with 30 new ideas, we may be successful with five or six, but if we only come up with five or six, we might not be successful with any," the Congressman said, adding that the ideas had to be considered in terms of their feasibility, both for Guam and the federal government, and the current climate and mood in the nation's capitol.

"There's no one here in Washington who wears an 'S' on his chest and a red cape," he said.

The group agreed to another teleconference at the Congressman's District Office Monday morning at eight, Chamorro Standard Time.

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: 

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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