With Elections Next Week, Sparks Fly At Guam Debate

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Gutierrez, Calvo call each other ‘corrupt’ and ‘spreading lies’

By Shawn Raymundo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 31, 2014) – With less than a week before Election Day, accusations from both gubernatorial candidate teams continued to fly during last night's Great Debate at the University of Guam Calvo Field House.

Incumbent Gov. Eddie Calvo started off the final debate by telling the crowd that former Gov. Carl Gutierrez has been spreading lies to damage his integrity.

During Gutierrez's opening statement, his running mate, attorney Gary Gumataotao, chimed in, calling Calvo a corrupt leader for giving a $3.6 million tax break to a Calvo family business -- an accusation that has been repeated publicly over the last month by the Gutierrez camp.

The two candidates answered questions posed by a panel of university students that covered issues including education and the economy.

Calvo said through his administration's efforts, education on the island has improved as a result of stabilizing an unstable economy, which his opponent left behind.

Gutierrez served as governor from 1995 to 2003. Calvo is seeking his second term in office.

Calvo said he has also worked with the Department of Education to increase teacher accountability and renovate the schools on the island, which is "a very distinct difference between me and my opponent."

Gutierrez fired back by accusing Calvo of discrimination for hiring people only with a high school diploma. He added that while he was in office, Guam had a AAA credit rating. Guam law states employees must have at least a high school diploma to qualify for a government of Guam job.

When the former governor addressed a question about homelessness on the island, he blamed the problem on a lack of hope.

"I believe the homelessness is caused by hopelessness," Gutierrez said. "I believe in the last four years, people have lost hope, ... this government has no compassion."

Under Calvo's administration, more homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities have been built, Calvo responded.

Gutierrez's running mate, Gumataotao, showed much energy on stage during the lieutenant governor candidate portion of the debate. He accused Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and Calvo of not using federal money that Guam receives to preserve the island's environment.

"Every time we get federal money they don't use, they send it back," Gumataotao said.

Tenorio said increases in the size of Guam's police force have made streets safer. He added the fire department has also been able to grow by getting more personnel and fire engines.

Tenorio also pointed out that prior to his political career, he was a police officer for 15 years where he worked on the street.

"My opponent said, 'I work the law, you just work the streets' ... well these officers, they work the streets every day,'" Tenorio said. "I just worked along the streets with them for 15 years and I'm proud of that."

Gumataotao told Tenorio he hasn't done anything while in office.

"You've done nothing, Ray, we're down 300 officers," Gumataotao said. "How often do you drive around and you don't see a policeman? It's because we don't have enough officers."

Election Day is Tuesday. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Polling site locations can be found at gec.guam.gov. For more information about the candidates, go to guampdn.com/election.

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