Legislature of Guam

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The Legislature of Guam (Liheslaturan Guåhan in Chamorro) is the legislature in the United States territory of Guam. The legislative branch is unicameral, with a single house consisting of fifteen senators, each serving for a two year term. All members of the legislature are elected at-large. After the enactment of the Organic Act, the First Guam Legislature was elected in 1950. The current 32nd Guam Legislature (Chamorro: I Mina' Trentai Dos Na Liheslaturan Guåhan) was elected in November 2012.

The Guam Legislature meets in the territorial capital of Hagåtña (formerly Agana). The current legislature building is located at 155 Hesler Place.

History[edit]

Spanish Period: 1668-1898[edit]

During the Spanish colonial era, lasting roughly from the 1670s until 1898, Guam was provided with no colonial legislature. All political decisions on the island were left to a Madrid appointed governor, who, until 1817, reported to the Viceroy of New Spain in Mexico. Due to New Spain's distance from Guam and the speed of transportation of the times, Guam's leadership often took matters into its own hands. During the Mexican War of Independence, when Spain increasingly saw New Spain falling through its grip, Madrid transferred Guam's political authority to the Governor of Manila, and after 1821, fully to the Spanish Philippines.

American Period: 1898-1941, 1944-today[edit]

Spain lost Guam during the 1898 Spanish American War in a bloodless invasion. For the next forty years, the United States Navy assumed executive control of the island, treating it more as a military outpost than an overseas territory, with little to no civilian say in the island's affairs. Governor Captain Willis Winter Bradley instituted the Guam Congress during the 1930s as an elected advisory body to the naval governor. On December 8, 1941, Imperial Japanese forces invaded Guam, beginning a three year occupation of the island. The island was eventually retaken in 1944 during the intense Battle of Guam.

Following the end of the war, the U.S. Navy attempted to resume military control of the islands, much to the dismay of the local Chamorro population who demanded greater rights on the heels of the harsh Japanese occupation. The U.S. federal government listened. The result was the Guam Organic Act of 1950 signed by President Harry S. Truman. The act established a civilian territorial government with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. It was the first time that Guam had a democratic civilian government.

Historic Speakers of the Guam Legislature[1][edit]

Legislature Years Name Party
1st - 2nd Legislature 1951–1955 Antonio B. Won Pat Popular Party
3rd Legislature 1955–1957 Francisco B. Leon Guerrero Popular Party
4th - 7th Legislature 1957–1965 Antonio B. Won Pat Popular Party
8th Legislature 1965–1967 Carlos P. Taitano Territorial Party
9th - 10th Legislature 1967–1971 Joaquin C. Arriola Democratic Party
11th - 12th Legislature 1971–1975 Florencio T. Ramirez Democratic Party
13th - 14th Legislature 1975–1979 Joseph F. Ada Republican Party
15th - 16th Legislature 1979–1983 Tomas V.C. Tanaka Republican Party
17th - 18th Legislature 1983–1987 Carl T.C. Gutierrez Democratic Party
19th Legislature 1987–1989 Franklin J.A. Quitugua Democratic Party
20th - 22nd Legislature 1989–1995 Joe T. San Agustin Democratic Party
23rd Legislature 1995–1997 Don Parkinson Democratic Party
24th - 26th Legislature 1997–2003 Antonio R. "Tony" Unpingco Republican Party
27th Legislature 2003–2005 Vicente C. "Ben" Pangelinan Democratic Party
28th - 29th Legislature 2005–2008 Mark Forbes Republican Party
29th - 32nd Legislature 2008–present Judith T.P. "Judi" Won Pat Democratic Party

Structure of the Guam Legislature[edit]

The Guam Organic Act of 1950 provides for the establishment of the Guam Legislature. The Organic Act provides that the Guam Legislature is a unicameral body with up to twenty-one members and that elections shall be held every two years. Until a change to Guam law in 1996, the Guam Legislature had 21 members, called senators, but since then it has had 15 senators. Senators of the Guam Legislature have been elected both by a number of at-large districts and by an island-wide at-large election. Since the 1980s, senators of the Guam Legislature have been elected at-large through an open partisan primary and a subsequent island-wide election.

28th through 32nd Guam Legislatures[edit]

In the November 2004 legislative elections, the Republican Party defeated the Democratic Party. The Republicans held 9 seats (Speaker Mark Forbes, Vice Speaker Joanne Salas Brown, Majority Leader Ray Tenorio, Majority Whip Jesse Anderson Lujan, Lawrence Kasperbauer, Antonio R. Unpingco, Edward B. Calvo, Michael Cruz and Robert Klitzkie). The Democrats held six seats (Frank B. Aguon Jr., Lou Leon Guerrero, Adolpho Palacios, Benjamin Cruz, Judith Won Pat Borja and Rory Respicio).

In the November 2006 legislative elections, the Republican Party defeated the Democratic Party. The Republicans held 8 seats (Speaker Mark Forbes, Vice Speaker Edward B. Calvo, Ray Tenorio, Antonio R. Unpingco, Jesse Anderson Lujan, James V. Espaldon, Frank F. Blas Jr., and Frankie Ishizaki. The Democrats held seven seats (Judith Won Pat, Rory J. Respicio, David L.G. Shimizu, Tina R. Muna Barnes, Judith P. Guthertz, Adolpho B. Palacios, Vicente C. Pangelinan).

In October 2007, Republican Senator Antonio (Tony) Unpingco died, and in a Special Election held in January 2008, Democratic Party candidate Benjamin "BJ" Cruz won the vacated seat and brought the Democrats to the majority. After Cruz was inaugurated, the new Democratic majority demanded control of the legislature, but Republicans held on to standing rules adopted in January 2007 which required a 12-3 vote to change the speakership and a 10-5 vote to change the standing rules, both of which the Democrats did not have. Finally, after a six-day power struggle [2] during which two "legislatures" with two "speakers" both claimed legitimacy, Republicans gave up their leadership [3] and Democratic Senator Judith Won Pat was elected speaker by the full legislature.

In the November 2008 legislative elections, the Democratic Party defeated the Republican Party. The Democrats hold 10 seats (Speaker) Judith T. Won Pat, Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz, Legislative Secretary Tina R. Muna Barnes, Majority Leader Rory J. Respicio, Judith P. Guthertz, Adolpho B. Palacios, Vicente C. Pangelinan, Thomas C. Ada, and Matthew J. Rector. The Republcians hold five seats (Minority Leader Edward B. Calvo, Ray Tenorio, Frank F. Blas Jr., James V. Espaldon, and Telo Taitague).

In the November 2010 legislative elections, the Democratic Party defeated the Republican Party. The Democrats hold 9 seats (Speaker) Judith T. Won Pat, Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz, Legislative Secretary Tina R. Muna Barnes, Majority Leader Rory J. Respicio, Judith P. Guthertz, Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Adolpho B. Palacios, Vicente C. Pangelinan, and Thomas C. Ada. The Republicans hold five seats (Minoroty Leader Frank F. Blas Jr., Aline Yamashita, V. Anthony Ada, Christopher M. Duenas, Shirley "Sam" Mabini, and Mana Silva Taijeron).

In the November 2012 legislative elections, the Democratic Party defeated the Republican Party. The Democrats currently hold nine seats and the Republicans holds six seats.

Members of the 32nd Guam Legislature[4][edit]

Name Party Affiliation Votes Received
Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr. Democratic 20,038
Frank B. Aguon, Jr. Democratic 19,518
Thomas C. Ada Democratic 18,079
Thomas A. Morrison Republican 16,983
Michael F.Q. San Nicolas Democratic 16,625
V. Anthony Ada Republican 15,796
Michael Limtiaco Republican 15,787
Christopher M. Duenas Republican 15,703
Benjamin J.F. Cruz Democratic 15,090
Judith T.P. Won Pat Democratic 15,031
Tina R. Muna Barnes Democratic 14,746
Vicente C. Pangelinan Democratic 14,707
Aline A. Yamashita Republican 14,203
Brant McCreadie Republican 14,058
Rory J. Respicio Democratic 14,042

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 13°28′32.5″N 144°44′55.7″E / 13.475694°N 144.748806°E / 13.475694; 144.748806