By the close of government of Guam hours Tuesday, we should have seen the complete list of who's running for senator and congressional delegate this time around. Mayoral seats are up for grabs, too, but the greatest impacts as far as our votes are concerned rest on the senatorial and congressional race.
We're in the midst of a midterm election.
In normal times, midterm elections aren't as consequential in the eyes of voters who are drawn to the ballot box by their choice of gubernatorial candidates.
These aren't normal times, in light of the pandemic, and we're likely to remain stuck in this tough economic environment for months – if not a year or longer.
So our choice of the 15 senators who deserve to be seated in the Guam Legislature in January 2021, and our lone congressional delegate in Washington, D.C., matter now more than before.
Do we give a second chance to certain incumbents in the Legislature who continued to pander to government of Guam employees and retirees and treated private sector workers as second-rate taxpayers?
Do we keep our current congressional delegate, or do we want a returnee or a newcomer?
So much is at stake this time around.
All we need to do is look at the shuttered businesses – dormant for months now – and the total stagnation of our tourism industry.
What used to be hubs of our tourism industry remain eerily empty. The international airport echoes in emptiness. Tourists are nowhere to be seen in once-bustling Tumon.
We need to take care of our health and safety first, hence the support for continued quarantine of our incoming travelers.
But our community's ability to sustain jobs and provide a livelihood for tens of thousands on the labor force are at stake, too.
So our choices for the next set of elected officials are crucial. And these cannot be understated in this election.
Did the current senators and delegate provide solutions that will help our island recover from the job losses and business closures stemming from COVID-19?
Did elected officials offer solutions that helped the general public and not just the GovGuam base?
Did they see the big-picture solutions?
Did they get stuck in the details or distracted by the less important or trivial matters?
Did they cater to special interests and disregarded the general public sentiment or interest?
Did their past election promises match up with their actions once they got elected?
Our island has had only two main economic engines for decades: tourism, which is in a state of paralysis; and overall government spending, including defense spending, which is OK for now but could slow down as the federal government continues to grapple with the economic toll this pandemic has caused across the nation.
There could be tougher economic times ahead before it gets better.
We need elected officials who trust us with the full picture of what's going on – minus the smokescreen and spin.
We need elected officials who can tell us what they realistically can and can't do.
Enough with the big, empty words.