PDG shares candidate survey

TAMUNING. — A six-question survey was sent to candidates for Guam’s Legislature today by the Progressive Democrats of Guam (PDG), a grassroots organization promoting progressive values, policies, and candidates in Guam.

The survey seeks to better inform Guam voters by asking candidates to clarify their stances on issues of vital social and economic importance, such as: unemployment insurance; layoffs caused by cutting the Business Privilege Tax; providing additional compensation for essential workers; providing PPE for workers; advancing healthcare for all; and, enhancing enforcement of environmental protection laws.

“This is a great opportunity for candidates to speak directly to the progressive issues that are deeply important to many of Guam’s voters,” says Julian Janssen, PDG’s chapter leader.

Candidates have until Friday, October 9, to submit their responses. PDG leadership will then evaluate their responses while comparing them to related past public statements and legislative records (for current and former senators seeking election) for consistency. PDG will release a “2020 Candidate Guide” online and to the news media on October 12, showing results and methodology. PDG will neither endorse specific candidates nor show favoritism toward Democrats in its evaluation process.

To learn more about the Progressive Democrats of Guam, or join their growing ranks, visit their website at http://www.pdguam.org, or like/follow the group’s Facebook page, which has over 3,400 followers.

PDG was formed in September 2020 as an independent, grassroots group of concerned citizens. It does not receive funding from corporations, political parties, or other organizations. PDG members volunteer their time and energy to advancing the progressive values of fully expressed human rights, participatory democracy, economic and social justice, inclusiveness, and sustainable development. PDG is comprised of teachers, healthcare workers, small-business owners, union members, students, artists, activists, public and private sector workers, and other Guam residents — regardless of political affiliation — dedicated to raising our island’s quality of life by protecting its environment, growing access to healthcare, and improving government services and accountability.

<End of Media Release>

For your information, the following is the questionnaire which has been provided to candidates for the 36th Guam Legislature:

Questionnaire for Senatorial Candidates

Please submit written answers to pdguam671@gmail.com by not later than Friday, October 9, 2020 for review by the Progressive Democrats of Guam.

1. Unemployment Insurance.

All 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have unemployment insurance programs providing partial wage replacement to those unemployed through no fault of their own, at an average cost to employers of 0.47% of total payroll. Unemployment programs can borrow from the U.S. Department of Labor to cover benefits when local funds are insufficient. Will you vote in favor of establishing a permanent unemployment insurance program to replace the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, set to expire in December? Please explain why or why not.

2. No Layoffs for GovGuam Workers.

Cutting the Business Privilege Tax (BPT) by 1% would result in $61 million in lost revenue, requiring layoffs of 600-1200 GovGuam workers. Will you vote to cut BPT by 1%, causing massive layoffs of GovGuam workers, considering that only businesses with over $500,000 in revenue would financially benefit? Please explain why or why not.

3. Fair Compensation for Essential Workers.

Essential workers must show up to work no matter the circumstances, even during a pandemic or natural disaster. This puts them and their families at grave risk without additional compensation. Will you vote to raise the minimum wage for essential workers to no less than $10 per hour during any current and future periods in which the Governor declares a state of emergency? Please explain why or why not, and give your timeline for legislative action.

4. PPE for Workers.

During the current pandemic, many workers are required to provide their own personal protective equipment (PPE) for work. Will you vote to require employers to provide PPE for their workers? Please explain why or why not.

5. Health Care for All.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has proposed moving toward universal health care coverage through a system of public self-insurance, which provides coverage through existing networks and offers comprehensive health services. Do you support moving toward universal health care coverage in the framework offered by the Governor? If so, please explain why. If not, please explain how you intend to provide health care for all.

6. Enhanced Environmental Enforcement.

GovGuam has stunningly limited enforcement capacity for controlling many ongoing environmental issues that impact our people’s health, safety, and the island’s sustainability. These threats include man-made wildfires, littering, illegal dumping, illegal fishing and poaching, and human activities damaging our coral reefs. Will you vote to increase funding to relevant GovGuam agencies so they can better enforce environmental laws and manage conservation issues? Please explain why or why not, and give your timeline for legislative action.

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