Group to back candidates

By Oyaol Ngirairikl;
Pacific Daily News

Meeting: Monte Mesa, chairman of the Committee to Get Guam Working, speaks at the Guam Chamber of Commerce's general membership meeting at the Westin Guam Resort yesterday.

The Committee to Get Guam Working is seeking private-sector support as the committee prepares to engage the business community in the coming political campaign season.

Monte Mesa, chairman of the business coalition, was the guest speaker at a Guam Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday at the Westin Guam Resort.

Before the 2002 elections, the committee had endorsed administrative and legislative candidates who promised to address certain issues, such as government reorganization, the closure of Ordot dump, and the "Guam-only" visa waiver, among other issues.

Mesa's presentation stated that the committee helped elect Gov. Felix Camacho, Lt. Gov. Kaleo Moylan and Sens. Frank Aguon Jr., Randy Cunliffe, Carmen Fernandez, Mark Forbes, Larry Kasperbauer, Robert Klitzkie, Tina Muna-Barnes, Toni Sanford and Ray Tenorio.

Mesa, in an interview after the meeting, did not say whether the committee will continue to endorse incumbent senators who are running in this year's elections.

"We're going to endorse those senators who support our pledges. We have other issues we need to address now, and if the senatorial candidates support our stand in those issues, then they will receive our endorsement," Mesa said.

When the committee endorses a candidate, its members help organize candidates' visits to various businesses. Also, businesses coordinate employee outreach efforts where they recommend to employees whom they might consider supporting. The committee also pays for campaign ads.

Some of the issues the committee is concerned with this year include:

- a proposed 40-percent increase in the minimum wage, which the business community opposes;

- repeal of the "right to work law," which the business community also is against; and

- privatizing government services and government reorganization, which businesses advocate.

Mesa said it's through the committee's efforts that senators reduced the 6 percent Gross Receipts Tax to 4 percent beginning today.

"That's an example of us working with the Legislature and the administration to come up with a solid public policy that fosters the private industry, which in turn helps the island's economy and the people of the island."

Originally published Thursday, April 1, 2004



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