NEW GUAM ADMINISTRATION SWORN IN

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Governor Calvo calls for unity and a ‘new direction’

By Oyaol Ngirairikl HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 4, 2011) – Through hard work and determination, the people of Guam are more than capable of shaping a great future for the island.

That was the message given by Governor Eddie Calvo during the inauguration ceremony for him and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio yesterday at the Plaza de España in Hagåtña.

The new administration's pledge of a new direction and call for all Guamanians to unite comes at a time when the local government is facing a growing deficit and millions of dollars in unbudgeted funding requirements such as the government's health-insurance contract, past-due utility payments and overdue tax refunds balanced with the hope of increased federal dollars from the looming military buildup.

Both men talked about the island working together to overcome challenges, but also to make the buildup work for Guam.

"We are the authors of our own destiny, Tenorio said. I will not stand here and promise you the days ahead will be easy. Today, a new era is upon us. Our community is on the verge of growth, and change with far-reaching effects some of which we will not be able to foresee (but) we must be ready, knowledgeable and capable to meet the demands of our future."

A standing ovation from those attending the event cheered Calvo and Tenorio after the new governor and lieutenant governor took their oaths of office.

Superior Court of Guam Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena III administered the oath of office to Tenorio, who gave his inaugural address first. Supreme Court of Guam Chief Justice Robert J. Torres administered the oath of office to Calvo.

Applause, whistles and even an "Eddie, we love you" rang out during the event.

Challenge

"People have said that no one knows about Guam, that nobody cares what we do. I've heard critics doubt our ability to compete against the best in the world, Calvo said. They say our children can't make it because public school test scores are too low. They say our government is broken and cannot change. They say we're too far from the rest of the world."

Calvo noted the ingenuity of the Chamorro people, who navigated the Pacific and built proas hundreds of years ago.

"Who can question our existence or our contributions? It is time to embrace our identity as Guamanians. We are here, and we should be proud of who we are, where we came from and what we can become, he said. The public school system isn't where we want it to be, but it is not beyond our reach to graduate your children into rewarding careers. The traffic on the roads today and the lack of water and sewer services for many families are problems we can one day put in our past. The government has a large debt and a hard time paying its bills, but the fiscal crisis isn't so insurmountable that we should give up and let others take over."

Calvo said there were two options.

"We can dwell on the challenges and surrender centuries of resolve against the odds, or we can exemplify the highest virtues of Guamanians and lead change for ourselves," he said.

The event drew dozens of dignitaries from nearby Micronesian islands, throughout the Pacific and even the honorary consul of France.

Former Gov. Felix Camacho and former first lady Joann Camacho, military leaders, family and friends of Calvo and Tenorio, as well as newly selected heads of agencies, judges and senators, also were in attendance.

Of the international dignitaries was Republic of Palau President Johnson Toribiong, whose comments were read by former senator and newly appointed Guam Department of Public Works Director Joanne Brown.

"Your election comes at a time of many challenges for your territory and I wish you the best of luck in your administration, Toribiong wrote in his letter. I believe we can partner in addressing regional challenges affecting our respective governments."

Consolidated Commission on Utilities Chairman Simon Sanchez said he's looking forward to working with the new administration in addressing the island's infrastructure in the looming buildup.

"I'm very optimistic. I think the governor and lieutenant governor said all the right things today, and in her speech (Speaker) Judith Won Pat, they all emphasized working together," Sanchez said after the event. The governor said we have a wonderful history of accomplishment, and accomplishment never comes easily. Its hard work, but we're a hard-working, good people and he reminded us of that. Now, we look forward to working with him."

The island's third elected governor, Paul Calvo, and Rosa Calvo, parents of the new governor both said they're very proud of their son.

"He's got a lot on his plate but I know he and Ray are up to the challenge and they'll come through with their campaign promises," Paul Calvo said.

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