Congressman Michael San Nicolas formally declared his intention to run for governor of Guam by filing his certificate of candidacy at the Guam Election Commission Tuesday.
Sabrina Salas Mantanane, who recently resigned as news director of KUAM, is San Nicolas’ running mate. A broadcast journalist for more than 20 years, Matanane is a novice on the political stage.
San Nicolas will challenge the incumbent Governor Lou Leon Guerrero in the Democratic Party’s primary.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars and resources are not getting out to our people and businesses are closing. How many businesses need to close before we realise that there’s not enough relief getting to where it needs?” said San Nicolas, who is serving his second term as Guam’s delegate to Congress.
Much to fix
San Nicolas said there should be an ongoing conversation that is focused on “what material things” can be done to achieve outcomes in the areas of health, public safety, education and affordable housing, among others.
“How can we look at housing and make sure that the affordable housing problem is not just something we sit back and acknowledge but instead create the incentives for builders to build houses at lower price points?” San Nicolas said.
“How do we make sure that the educational system isn’t just able to open up and take in students but actually push out the students who will be able to get high paying jobs and attract industries that create those jobs,” he added.
San Nicolas said he decided to run for Adelup because neither of the two other gubernatorial tickets that have declared their candidacy has a clear platform.
“There’s been no discussion about what’s going to happen to our people. There’s been no discussion about what the next four years are going to bring. There’s no discussion about how the lives of our people are going to improve. That is not public service,” San Nicolas said.
Release federal funds
For her part, Matanane said she is ready to take on a new role in the community.
“I am tired of the negative politics,” she said. “Somebody has to stand up for the people of Guam and I am putting everything on the line. More than 20 years in this business and I’m ready – I’m ready to make a difference.”
Matanane, who has been critical of San Nicolas in the past, acknowledged that she is “concerned” about the ongoing ethics investigation against the Guam delegate and discussed the matter with him.
However, she said she is more concerned about the federal funds sitting in a bank while the people of Guam struggle to survive.
“Why aren’t we putting that money out to help people? Why are we dangling it out: ‘Oh, we are going to have an election, let’s give some money away.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if after we leave, there is a press release coming out ‘Hey, we are going to give out bonuses or whatever.”
No more neglect
San Nicolas said it was time to end the “neglect of our people.” He vowed to bring the conversation away from negativity and politics and switch the focus back on the people of Guam.
“We need to get everybody who is running for this office to begin talking about that because it is just not happening and we are absolutely ready to bring that conversation,” San Nicolas said.
San Nicolas said he is happy to work alongside someone who will help keep him in check, keep him accountable and focused.
“I think the wrong thing to do is to find a running mate who is going to be a “yes” person. Sabrina has a reputation of always standing up for the people of Guam. She is going to make sure that we keep that focus because that is ultimately what’s the most important,” San Nicolas said.
As Guam’s delegate, San Nicolas said his achievements were the result of being focused on his purpose as the island’s representative to Congress.
“We need to focus the purpose of everything that we do as elected officials, everything that we do as a government, back on the people of Guam,” he said.
He said the difference between him and the incumbent governor is his track record.
“We say what we mean and mean what we say. If you look back at my record, there is not a single campaign promise that we haven’t made an effort to deliver on and many of them, we have,” he said.
San Nicolas said he does not believe that the national-level partisan divide extends to local politics.
He welcomes everyone’s contribution, regardless of party affiliation. “It’s not a gang mentality of who can get together and figure out to do whatever they want to do because they are part of the same party,” he said.