Eddie Baza Calvo is the eighth elected Governor of Guam who, along with Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio, won the General Elections of November 2014 by a landslide, taking 64% of the votes. It was the first time in the history of the island that a gubernatorial team won all 28 precincts.
Governor Calvo’s primary message after winning the election is that while the work the Calvo Tenorio administration started in 2011 made its mark — the economy improved, the government’s finances were being better managed, and more police officers were hired, among other things — the job isn’t done.
During his thank you speech on the night of the election, Governor Calvo told his supporters and his team: “There’s so much more work that needs to be done. We’re going full speed ahead.”
Stabilizing Government Finances
The Governor inherited a deficit of tax refunds and vendor payables nearing $400 million by the end of Fiscal Year 2011. The deficit created a severe and nearly unmanageable cash flow situation, endangering the government’s ability to provide even for operational obligations. Governor Calvo ordered immediate austerity, including the rollback of government pay raises and a freeze on increments. Governor Calvo also ordered the reduction of his pay and the salaries of the Lieutenant Governor and their senior staff to set the example in fiscal discipline.
The savings generated from the Governor’s aggressive orders went to pay down the debt of tax refunds. Together with two series of bonds to finance the tax refunds debt, Governor Calvo paid out about $350 million in tax refunds in one fiscal year alone. That is the highest amount of tax refunds paid in one year in the history of the government of Guam.
The commitment to paying obligations, even those promised in administrations previous to his, was seen in that first term. Long overdue payments to law enforcement officers were paid; when all was said and done more than $30 million had been paid to law enforcement officers. The long awaited Hay Pay Plan was implemented, helping to boost GovGuam’s line agency salary levels, in a responsible, cohesive effort. Previous salary increases benefited only specific groups of employees, such as police, teachers and nurses.
In his first four years in office, Governor Calvo started an affordable housing initiative that would build 30,000 new affordable homes by 2017. This required a strong partnership between the local government, the federal government and the private sector. As of 2015, about 20,000 new homes have been built, are being built or are in the planning stages.
Education & Guam’s future
It is this focus on children that drives the signature pieces of Governor Calvo’s tenure. Looking toward the long-term viability of the island, the Governor saw the disconnect between the standards of the workforce and the performance of students by the time they graduate, if they graduated. He brought the community together to develop a plan for education reform, one which swaps the 100-year-old American education system of inputs with one that values standards and outputs in a classroom culture of collaboration that embraces technology. Governor Calvo introduced the Core Curriculum program to Guam DOE. In 2012, the Guam Education Board adopted the program and has begun implementing it in schools. The governor, with Republican colleague, now former Senator Aline Yamashita, shared the idea of a universal pre-kindergarten program to help ensure the kindergarten program is available to all children, and with it the opportunity to prepare for a successful academic future.
His life, his family
Eddie Baza Calvo was born on August 29, 1961, the middle child of former Governor and First Lady Paul McDonald and Rose Herrero Baza Calvo. He grew up in Maite with his sisters Vera, Katherine, Barbara, Marie, Reyna and Clare, and his older brother Paul.
He attended Father Duenas Memorial School before moving to California, where he graduated from St. Francis High School in Mountain View in 1979. He then enrolled at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1983.
Upon his return to Guam, Calvo at age 22 worked his way through the ranks at Pacific Construction Company in east Hagatna. He worked in the warehouse before shifting through the aisles of the store as a sales representative, eventually becoming general manager after serving under the tutelage of his mentor, Matt Lonac.
The budding business executive then moved to Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Guam as Vice President and General Manager. By the time he left the company, it had expanded its footprint into the region and was acclaimed a top performing company in the global Pepsi establishment.
During his quick rise through the private sector, Eddie Baza Calvo met the woman who would be his lifelong partner in progress, the former Christine Lujan Sonido. They married in 1987 and raised six beautiful children: Edward, Vinson, Rosae, Paul Jerome, Melva, and Celine. They also are blessed with two grandsons, Eden and Sabian.
Governor Calvo is fond of saying his family is his “rock,” the foundation of his life. They have supported him throughout his political career, which began when he successfully campaigned for the Guam Legislature in 1998. Between 1999 and 2010 he served five terms as a senator, serving also as vice speaker, acting speaker, and chairman of the legislative finance, public works and health committees.
Governor Calvo is a plain-spoken man, who can regularly be seen in the community speaking with the people and helping them. He is a man of deep faith, guided more by Christian values than any rule of politics. He is an avid reader and student of history and a former athlete. He is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and has never wavered in his decades-long support for his beloved San Francisco 49ers.