A number of elected officials are traveling for the rest of the week.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero is in Vail, Colorado, attending the annual Western Governors' Association meeting. From there she’ll travel to Fort Bliss in Texas to visit Guam National Guard soldiers who are deployed there. Janela Carrera, the governor’s spokeswoman, said the governor is scheduled to return next week.
Speaker Tina Muña Barnes and Sens. Kelly Marsh, Clynt Ridgell and Telo Taitague left on Sunday for Taiwan and will return Friday. They were invited by the Taiwan Foreign Affairs Department, according to a press release from the speaker’s office.
The Taiwanese government funded the trip for Barnes, Ridgell and Taitague, the press release stated. Marsh paid her airfare with personal funds, according to her office.
“The U.S. federal government has a new policy encouraging U.S. government officials to travel to Taiwan in order to strengthen relations with Taiwan,” according to the speaker’s press release. “In fact, at least three U.S. government officials traveled to Taiwan just last year including Governors Butch Otter of Idaho, Gary Herbert of Utah, and Matt Mead of Wyoming. Their trips were also funded by the Taiwan government.”
Additionally, the speaker’s office stated, Guam holds a unique sister city relationship with Taiwan established in 1973. Previous Guam legislative delegations have traveled to Taiwan as a part of the sister city relationship.
The trip has also afforded Guam officials the opportunity to learn from the successes of Taiwan particularly in agriculture, renewable energy, healthcare and port operations.
“Taiwan is an important economic sector in this region. We as policymakers can learn from their successes,” the speaker's press release stated. “Emulating some of their successful policies in Guam would be beneficial for our island.”
According to a press release from Adelup, the governors' meeting will cover topics on the state-federal relationship, infrastructure, water management, and biosecurity and invasive species initiative.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt committed to addressing the needs of the states and territories, "particularly concerning national parks and wildfires," the release stated. Leon Guerrero asked Bernhardt for help with the Department of Health and Human Services for improved Medicaid rates that are comparable to what states and the District of Columbia receive.
The governor added she will seek the support of her colleagues in the governor's association toward the payment of Guam World War II victims' reparations.