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BORN against the backdrop of rice fields, fish markets and a humble home in the Philippines, congressional candidate Karlo Dizon believes that in spite of the many obstacles he presumably faces in his journey to Washington D.C., he has what it takes to overcome adversities that incumbent Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo could not achieve in 10 years in office.
Dizon officially launched his campaign yesterday at his campaign headquarters in Tamuning to a crowd made up mostly of Filipinos with a good mix of young and old alike.
Dizon began his speech by explaining his rise to prominence, going from an immigrant faced with adversities, to a Yale graduate working on important issues with top international firms and the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
As expected, Dizon rolled out with punches, bringing to light the “empty promises” of his Democratic opponent.
“We now have twice the amount of people on welfare per capita than any other state or territory. We now have the second highest unemployment rate in the history of our island,” Dizon said. “And the person who occupies the only elected office in our island who has the potential to influence national policies that affect our everyday lives – our delegate in Washington – has turned her back, unwilling and unable to change as the rest of the country and the rest of the world changes around us.”
Ten years later, he said, Guam is still the only jurisdiction in the U.S. that has caps on Medicaid; does not have adequate Compact-Impact funding; has made no progress on war reparations; and whose core pillars of the economy – construction and tourism – have not reaped the benefits of a China visa waiver program.
“Ten years later and after the empty promises of a military buildup that was supposed to spark new growth and create new jobs, we were led astray when twist after twist, turn after turn, cut after cut, our delegate in Washington scrambled press release after press release to explain that it was not her fault, that there was nothing she could do, that someone else should be blamed instead,” he said.
Despite focusing on Bordallo’s “failures” after 10 years in Congress, Dizon said he continues to respect the political veteran and has, in fact, spoken with her on many of these issues.
“I have met Congresswoman Bordallo. I think she is the kindest woman I have ever met,” he said. “But they will give you, through the course of this campaign, promise after promise about how they will get you more money, or how they will beg for more money from the federal government, without really telling you how they will do that or how they can,” he said.
Dizon then shifted his speech to his educational and employment background. “I am the only candidate who can get this done,” he said as he explained that because of his work with the U.S. Embassy and in Beijing, he has the ability to grab the attention of the U.S. and other countries as he is the only candidate who has worked directly with the Chinese government and inside the White House.
In a separate interview, Dizon told Variety that despite his youth and lack of political experience in any elected seat, he believes that the iconic Bordallo, who has been in the political arena since the 1970s, has lost her touch with her people.
“I worked on the Obama campaign, and that for me was proof that if you go back to the people, when you speak to each and every person, either through calling them or knocking on their doors or speaking with them out in public, they will realize you have their best interests at heart, and that’s – as much as I admire the congresswoman – something she hasn’t really done in the last 10 years,” Dizon said. “That’s what we plan on doing; this is very much a grassroots campaign.”