Conspiracy theorists: Democrats possibly colluded in forcing session into recess

by Ken Wetmore, KUAM News
Thursday, September 04, 2003

While most kids in elementary school love recess, Republicans in the Legislature are complaining about the week-and-a-half recess called by Vice Speaker Frank Aguon, Jr. yesterday. Last night we reported that seven Democrats and Republican Robert Klitzkie were present at yesterday's quickly recessed session, and that there was no objection from Senator Klitzkie before the gavel fell.

The freshman lawmaker, however, says he was and is strongly opposed to the week-and-a-half recess and didn't have time to object before the gavel fell. “The Speaker called the session to order and announced a recess until September 15th at 9AM. I said, ‘I object Mr. Speaker’, but he'd already dropped the gavel...I did object.”

Fellow Republican Ray Tenorio also says he's disappointed in the recess and feels senators should remain available to work for the people. Tenorio says he's normally on time, but yesterday was running a little late. “This is the first time that I've known in the entire Legislature that session actually started on time,” he indicated.

In an interview with KUAM News yesterday, Vice Speaker Aguon gives his perspective on the issue.

Vice Speaker Frank Aguon, Jr.: “Because we had a quorum we proceeded with the discussion and I felt that at that time that it was appropriate to suspend discussions on the budget for reasons that I have previously stated.”

KUAM News: “So did you guys plan to do this...was this a little political maneuver that you guys had planned knowing you didn't have the support of the Republicans, including Mark Forbes, who as you stood by yesterday said that he was not in favor of it?”

FA: “He is not in favor of...he was not in favor of suspending budget discussions, but like I said, in this case I am looking at September 17 as the final timeline to transmit a budget to the Chief Executive, and that's the time that we are working with. As long as the budget discussion continues and is concluded on that timeframe, then I think we'll be able to meet that requirement.”

KUAM: “Alright, but going back to my question, was this a political maneuver?”

FA: “I felt that, inclusive of myself, I will be off-island next week that perhaps it would be more prudent t o suspend discussion until September 15 when, in fact, most, if not all, of my colleagues will be back.”

KUAM: “So this normally don't start on know you don't normally start within an hour of when you're usually supposed to start so is this something where you said to all the other democrats, show up on time for once...”

FA: “I think if you look at the numbers, once we get the eight senators in the house we commence the discussion of the budget proposal, and in this case at a quarter after we did have eight senators in the house we did meet the quorum requirement we proceeded in the discussion and then I decided to suspend discussion of the budget until the 15th of September.”

KUAM: “Were the Democrats all told to be there on time?”

FA: “It just so happened that the democrats all showed up on time.”

Vice Speaker Aguon would never confirm or deny whether Democrats were told to show up on time in order to recess quickly.



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