Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s effort to reduce residency requirements for Guam’s governor, lieutenant governor, senators and mayors through an Organic Act Amendment is troublesome and gives rise as to its motivation. Residency provides confidence that aspiring candidates have good knowledge and understanding of the history of current community issues. This lack of knowledge and current connection, with the Guam community, was a Bordallo campaign issue when challenged by Karlo Dizon and Margaret Metcalf.
The wisdom of electing someone who has been absent for a period of time and has no institutionalized knowledge of the issues confronting our island is troublesome and questionable, whether the office sought is local office or in Washington, D.C. That the federal requirements for delegate candidates are loose and permissive does not necessarily mean it would be wise to apply the same permissiveness to local offices.
Bordallo noted that the five-year residency requirement denies candidacy for these offices to returning students or armed service members. Not so — the law provides that students studying abroad and armed service members who want to maintain Guam residency can do so by voting absentee in local elections, a process not so difficult over the Internet.