September 07, 2007
Camacho Addresses Military Buildup, Homelessness with Federal Officials
Governor Felix P. Camacho has returned from a series of meetings with federal officials to strengthen Guam’s relationships with federal agencies critical to preparing the island for the military buildup. Discussions at three meetings focused on leveraging existing federal resources to address Guam’s physical and social challenges and homelessness.
“We are building an important alliance with key federal agencies that can help us with the resources we need to prepare for the military buildup and sustain economic growth,” Governor Camacho said. “This was an opportune time to solidify relationships following Lt. Governor Mike Cruz’s presentations to the Interagency Working Group two months ago in Washington.”
Lt. Governor Michael W. Cruz, M.D. in July led a delegation from Guam to the first meeting of the Interagency Group on Insular Areas Working Group regarding the military buildup on Guam. The group was created at the Governor’s request to focus federal agencies’ attention on Guam’s unique situation. The result was a greater focus by critical federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of State, Housing and Urban Development and Labor, on specific physical and social challenges these agencies can help us to address.
The Governor’s September 4, 2007, meeting with Federal Regional Council Region IX in the San Francisco Federal Building was a follow up to the Working Group meeting held in July. The Federal Regional Council is a consortium of 17 separate federal departments and agencies representing nearly 30 different program offices in Region IX working in partnership to better serve the public. The council’s goal is to work in a coordinated manner to make federal programs more effective and efficient in Region IX, which includes Pacific and West Coast jurisdictions as well as Guam.
Governor Camacho met several officials from these federal departments and agencies, which used the meeting to focus entirely on issues presented by the Governor.
“This was a really rare opportunity for the entire federal community attending this meeting to focus on our issues alone,” Governor Camacho said.
“I believe it is imperative that an integrated holistic approach that considers the citizens of Guam, our rights, our health and well being, and our future, as well as the military value of the island, is crucial,” Governor Camacho said in a speech regarding the military buildup before the Federal Regional Council Region IX meeting. “A holistic approach also creates opportunities for other federal agencies and departments to leverage limited resources to address existing challenges. I am willing to explore and develop fiscally sound alternatives for all challenges and I am willing to work with the appropriate federal departments and agencies soliciting their assistance where appropriate.”
While in California, Governor Camacho also met with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on national assistance to address homelessness on Guam.
“Our long-term goal is for every resident of Guam to live in a decent home,” Governor Camacho said. “Homelessness is a growing problem we must address now, especially as Guam undergoes major physical and social change from the military buildup.”
Governor Camacho met with Eduardo Cabrera, Regional Coordinator for Region 9, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The council’s mission is to coordinate the federal response to homelessness and to create a national partnership at every level of government and every element of the private sector to reduce and end homelessness in the nation. The officials discussed federal programs regarding homelessness, which may be implemented on Guam.
Earlier in his trip, Governor Camacho attended the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Basin Development Council Board of Directors in Lanai City, Hawaii from August 27-28, 2007. American Samoa Governor Togiola T. Tulafono was elected president of the PBDC and was joined by Governor Camacho and CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial. Guests included officials from several federal agencies, including the Defense Department, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cargo Airline Association and The Boeing Company.
Governor’s Chief of Staff J. George Bamba presented an update of the Guam military buildup before the PBDC, along with Gary Kuwabara from the U.S. DOD Office of Economic Adjustment.