Bernie is proud to stand with the people of Guam, and work together with Guamanians to build a better future. We must fight for a more just society with an economy that serves the needs of all Guamanians – not just a handful of those Americans on top. Implementing a College-for-All plan would allow students across Guam who study hard to attend college without burdening themselves with mountains of debt. Bernie’s plan to create a Medicare-for-all, universal health care system will make sure Guamanians have the health care they need regardless of how much money they make. His climate plan would fundamentally transform Guam’s energy system away from fossil fuel towards sustainable energy by providing grants to Guam’s communities for solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. It is essential we also fight to make sure that federal environmental and public health laws are aggressively enforced to protect the land and water in Guam.
Bernie also recognizes the specific needs facing Guam and the responsibility of the federal government to lend a helping hand. Bernie supports the right of the people of Guam to control their own destinies. All Guamanians are entitled to fair representation at the Federal level and should be empowered to choose their own political future. He would make sure all of those exposed to radiation from past nuclear tests get the compensation they deserve. Guamanians must finally receive compensation for being subjected to unspeakable abuses at the hands of occupying powers during the Second World War. We have to ensure Guam is safe and secure while seeing to it that that the military presence on the island is managed responsibly in way that respects local needs and the natural environment.
It is counter-productive to the best interests of our country and our future that Guam’s bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and that so many who do pursue higher education leave school with a mountain of debt that burdens them for decades. That shortsighted path to the future must end. Every American who studies hard in school should be able to attend college without going deeply into debt, regardless of how much money their parents make.
Bernie has long fought for access to affordable higher education by:
- Expanding Pell Grants to make college more affordable.
- Fighting for funding for low-income and first-generation students through the federal TRIO programs.
- Combating sexual violence on campus by co-sponsoring the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.
- Fighting to create the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to forgive federal student loan debt after at least ten years of public service.
Bernie’s College-for-All plan would:
- Make public colleges and universities tuition free.
- Cut new student loan interest rates almost in half.
- Allow students with existing student loan debt to refinance their loans at lower rates.
- Triple funding for the work study program to provide income and experience for college students.
Bernie believes that health care is a right, not a privilege. The Affordable Care Act was an important achievement, but unfortunately not all of its provisions apply to Guam. Bernie will fight for a federally administered Medicare-for-all plan that would cover everyone and apply equally to states and territories, including Guam.
Bernie is concerned that people in Guam have been exposed to radioactive fallout, resulting in chronic medical conditions. A 2005 National Research Council report concluded that Guam was subjected to fallout from nuclear testing. But residents of Guam are still not able to receive compensation under the Radiation and Exposure Compensation Act. Bernie will strongly support efforts in Congress to make sure people in Guam exposed to radiation receive compensation.
Bernie believes it is time to address Guam’s long-neglected public infrastructure. We must create new jobs and make Guamanian businesses more competitive in the global economy by enacting a national jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. Bernie’s Rebuild America Act would create good-paying jobs in Guam and put 13 million people to work all over the U.S. This plan would help rebuild Guam’s crumbling roads and bridges, improve its port, upgrade its drinking water and wastewater plants, and fortify flood control projects. It would also improve public transportation in Guam, modernize Guam’s aging electric grid, and expand high-speed broadband networks all across the island.
Bernie believes that no one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty. Bernie has proposed to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. This would affect thousands of lower-income Guamanians whose wages have stagnated over many years.
EMPOWERING THE PEOPLE OF GUAM TO DECIDE THEIR OWN DESTINY
Bernie believes that the people of Guam have the right to self-determination. Bernie supports the efforts of the people of Guam to hold a binding referendum on their desired future political status. This is a decision that should be made by the people of Guam without interference from the federal government.
Bernie believes that the people of Guam should have the same rights as any other American, including the right to vote for president and to have fair representation in the U.S. Congress. He supports the current efforts by the We the People Project to extend equal rights to all Americans who live in the U.S. Territories. It is unconscionable that the people of Guam, who send so many of their brave sons and daughters to fight to protect the United States, are denied some of the most fundamental rights.
MILITARY PRESENCE ON GUAM
Bernie understands that the U.S. military presence on Guam is important for the local economy and national security. Bernie is committed to ensuring that the military presence on Guam is managed responsibly, including:
- Making sure military activities are done in a way that protects the natural environment.
- Ensuring military activities respect Guam’s unique history and culture.
- Providing the broadest opportunities to local small businesses that compete on military contracts.
- Making sure that military contractors pay local taxes.
Bernie believes that the federal government should follow through on returning land no longer required by the military or other federal agencies to the people of Guam. There must be an interagency taskforce to identify excess federal lands which will be returned to the people of Guam.
CLEAN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Bernie believes we must move aggressively away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy production. Guam is blessed with abundant solar and wind resources. The island also is well-positioned to develop cutting edge marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy, as well as oceanic thermal energy. Yet, virtually all of Guam’s energy comes from imported fossil fuels that are extraordinarily expensive for Guamanians and awful for the environment.
Bernie’s climate plan would fundamentally transform Guam’s energy system away from fossil fuel towards sustainable energy by providing grants to Guam communities for solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. Not only would this improve the environment, it would also create good-paying jobs by establishing a 100 percent clean energy system. And as we make this transition, fossil fuel workers will receive job-training opportunities and the financial assistance they need to maintain family-level wages, health care and pensions until they are able to start new jobs. His Rebuild America Act will help modernize the island’s antiquated electric grid to end rolling blackouts and make it easier to integrate new solar and wind installations.
Bernie believes it is long overdue that the people in Guam who were subjected to unspeakable brutality at the hands of a foreign occupying force during the Second World War be recognized and compensated for their great courage and sacrifice. We must work to bring a final resolution to this issue for the people of Guam.
COMPACT IMPACT FUNDING
Bernie is concerned that Guam may not be receiving adequate funding from the federal government to help pay for the costs of providing public services to migrants under the Compact of Free Association. There must be a review to ensure the government of Guam is fully compensated for the costs of providing public services under the Free Association agreement.