San Nicolas on whether he'll run for governor: 'That's entirely up to the current governor's record'
By Troy Torres
Congressman Michael San Nicolas, in an exclusive interview with Kandit News Wednesday evening hinted he'll only run for governor if the people of Guam are unsatisfied with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's leadership.
Here is the transcript of our question to him, and his response:
KANDIT: Congressman, are you considering running for governor in 2022?
SAN NICOLAS: My public service has never been ambition-focused. It’s always been mission-focused. When we ran for Congress it wasn’t because I wanted to be called ‘congressman;’ I mean, you guys know that. Uh, it was because we saw there was an opportunity for us to go in a fill some major gaps. And we’ve been filling them. We’ve been filling them actually very effectively and very quickly. Everything is mission-focused in my public service. It’s really a ministry of mine. I pray a lot about it, you know? And, um, we’re gonna go wherever God tells us to go, at any time. And not just for governor. If He says, you know, ‘it’s time for you to rest, it’s time for you to take it easy,’ we’re going to do that, too. Um, but, if there is a mission that needs to be fulfilled somewhere, we’re gonna go. We’re gonna do that. And so I really think the ball is in the sitting governor’s court about who’s going to run.
KANDIT: How so?
SAN NICOLAS: She’s getting all the resources. There is, um no, there’s really no excuse to not be able to respond to what the public’s expectations are. There’s no excuse to deliver on what the agenda is for their office and deliver on their campaign promises. And if the public’s expectations are met, I don’t think anyone should run for governor. But if the public’s expectations are not met, and if it’s so egregious, then the people are going to demand that somebody does. And so, you know, that’s ultimately going to be an outcome that she decides. Not me.
Mr. San Nicolas has managed to secure billions of dollars in federal funding to Guam since his inauguration to the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019. This has included his historic achievement of war claims, increased military spending, increased federal funding of various programs that have benefitted the Leon Guerrero administration, and of course the pandemic monies that have provided for unemployment aid, direct government assistance, business grants and loans, and housing vouchers, among many other financial windfalls to the government and people of Guam.
While the congressman expressed his gratitude for pockets of good leadership and stewardship of these federal funds, such as revenue and taxation director Dafne Shimizu's rollouts of the two federal stimulus programs so far, he has previously criticized the handling of unemployment aid and housing assistance by Ms. Leon Guerrero's people.
And then there's the pending achievement of 100 percent reimbursement of the Earned Income Credit to Guam. The provision for this is expected to pass the House of Representatives this week, the Senate next month, and the President shortly after that. If achieved, San Nicolas will have accomplished yet another historic feat that will complete the work begun by his former boss, Gov. Carl Gutierrez, in 1996. More importantly, if the federal government annually reimburses the government of Guam for 100 percent of the cost of paying out the EIC, between $50 million and $70 million in new money will flow into the Guam treasury. That will nearly erase the structural imbalance of the General Fund.
"More importantly, that will pay tax refunds on time," Mr. San Nicolas said.
If the governor can show (and he did not place a timeline on this benchmark) that she will be a good steward of the financial windfalls his leadership has been providing to Guam, then Mr. San Nicolas said no one should run against her. If she fails at reaching that benchmark - the indicator being her popularity among the voters - then all bets are that he will run for her seat.
Catch the full interview with the congressman below: