Joseph Franklin Ada

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The Honorable
Joseph F. Ada
5th Governor of Guam
In office
January 5, 1987 – January 2, 1995
Lieutenant Frank F. Blas
Preceded by Ricardo Bordallo
Succeeded by Carl T. C. Gutierrez
Lieutenant Governor of Guam
In office
January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983
Governor Paul McDonald Calvo
Preceded by Rudolph G. Sablan
Succeeded by Edward Diego Reyes
Speaker of the Guam Legislature
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by Florencio T. Ramirez
Succeeded by Tomas V. C. Tanaka
Personal details
Born Joseph Franklin Ada
(1943-12-03) December 3, 1943 (age 70)
Tamuning, Guam
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rosanna Santos
Alma mater University of Portland
Occupation Politician

Joseph Franklin Ada (born December 3, 1943), better known as Joseph F. Ada, is a U.S. politician. He elected as the Lieutenant Governor from 1979 to 1983 and the fifth Governor of Guam from 1987 to 1995.

Early life[edit]

Ada was born in Tamuning, Guam, to José Torres Ada and Regina Herrero. He attended the College of Guam for two years before entering the University of Portland, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in corporate finance in 1968.[1] Ada's late grandfather Josef Martinez Ada who owned Ada's Soap Factory in Anigua from the early 1930s until his death in 1955.

Political career[edit]

[1] His running mate and Lt. Governor was former senator Frank Blas. Ada served numerous terms in the Guam Legislature, becoming the first Republican speaker of the Legislature when the Republicans captured control of the body from the Democratic Party. Ada was elected Lt. Governor of Guam with running mate Paul McDonald Calvo in 1978, but declined the opportunity to serve as Calvo's running mate for re-election in 1982 and instead returned to the Legislature. Calvo lost the subsequent election to Ricky Bordallo. Ada is the only Guam political leader to serve as Speaker, Lt. Governor and Governor. He stewarded Guam's economic expansion and pushed, successfully, for return of land held by the US military.[2] He was the first governor of Guam to be reelected to a consecutive term in office, after winning reelection in 1990.

When his second term was over, he once again ran for Governor in 1998, but was defeated by incumbent Democratic governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez in a contentious race ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. His running mate was then-Senator Felix Camacho, Camacho ran successfully for Governor in 2002 and served two terms. In 2000, Ada ran for senator once more and was elected, joining the Republican majority in the Legislature. In 2002, he ran for Congressional delegate against Democrat Madeleine Bordallo, but lost.

Governorship[edit]

First term[edit]

When Ada began his first term Guam was in the throes of an economic recession with the government suffering under a crushing deficit. Ada put all his administration’s efforts toward Guam’s economic recovery, and eventually he presided over one of the fastest growing and strongest economies in the island’s history due in part to a growth in tourism from a booming Japanese economy. He launched an austerity program at the start of his term and followed it with a program to encourage investment and trade from Asia. He eliminated the government deficit in three years. Despite a decrease in federal spending, Guam’s economy doubled and some 25,000 new jobs were created. A majority of these jobs were in Guam’s growing private sector. During Ada’s first term, private sector employment outstripped public sector employment in Guam’s economy for the first time in the modern era.

As chairperson of the Commission on Self-Determination, established in 1980 to lead the way toward determining a new political status for Guam, Ada presided over the completion of the Guam Commonwealth Act and presented to the people of Guam for approval in a plebiscite. Upon the Act’s approval, Ada took it to US Congress. A strong advocate for self-government and self-determination for Guam, he called for an end to Guam’s colonial status and pushed for the liberation of Guam’s economy from federal regulations. Congress, however, did not act on the Guam Commonwealth Act and Guam’s political status remains unresolved.

Ada believed that Guam needed to be financially healthy and not dependent on the US government in order to move forward politically. He said the federal government has tied Guam’s hands more than once pointing to postwar security clearance, federal land takings for US bases and the Jones Act which puts Guam at a financial disadvantage for shipping.

To address those concerns Ada said he supported the newly developed qualifying certificate program at the Guam Economic Development Authority to bring in foreign investment, pushed for good fuel rates and port lease fees to bring tuna transshipment to Guam, and worked on getting a visa waiver for visitors to Guam from Korea and Taiwan, all of which helped move Guam away from being dependent on US federal dollars. He also directed floating the first bond for infrastructure rather than ask for more federal funds.

Second term[edit]

In his second term Ada capitalized on the fruits of his economic recovery program and made the largest investment in education in Guam up to that time. He directed the floating of a bond which made some $170 million available for the construction of a new high school in southern Guam (now Guam Southern High School), new elementary schools in Tamuning, Inarajan and Dededo, and reconstruction of schools in Upi and Ordot-Chalan Pago. Additionally many new classrooms were built to relieve overcrowding in schools around the island. Operating budgets for the public schools were increased annually. Under Ada computers and computer classes were introduced in all Guam schools. At the end of his term every grade level in every school had access to computer classes.

Guam suffered from a string of natural disasters during the second Ada administration. Four typhoons, one after another, hit Guam in 1991, with Typhoon Omar causing the most damage. On 8 August 1993 Guam was rocked by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. The temblor measured an astonishing 8.1 on the Richter Scale. Earthquake damage to Guam ran into millions of dollars though only two buildings were destroyed. These disasters, combined with a recession in Japan, caused the tourism industry to suffer for a time.

Post-governorship[edit]

He currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Board of the University of Guam Endowment Foundation. Founded by Jesus S. Leon Guerrero, the foundation is dedicated to promoting the university through academic enhancements, scholarship opportunities, and development of creative fundraising opportunities for overall improvements to the campus.

Personal life[edit]

Ada was married to Rosanna Santos and has three children, Eric, Tricia, and Ester, and have five grandchildren.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Guam Governor Joseph F. Ada". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ Europa Publishing (2002). Far East and Australasia 2003. Routledge. p. 1137. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rudolph Sablan
Lieutenant Governor of Guam
1979–1983
Succeeded by
Edward Diego Reyes
Preceded by
Ricardo Bordallo
Governor of Guam
1987–1995
Succeeded by
Carl T.C. Gutierrez
Preceded by
Florencio T. Ramirez
Speaker of the Guam Legislature
1975–1979
Succeeded by
Tomas V.C. Tanaka