Legislature of Guam
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Politics and government of
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.
Spanish Period: 1668-1898 
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 
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 7, 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.
The Guam Organic Act provided for the establishment of the Guam Legislature, a unicameral body with up to 21 senators. Following a revision in the territory's law in 1996, the Legislature was reduced from 21 to 15 senators.
In the early 1980s, election of senators changed from separate districts to at-large voting. In today's primary election, voters choose up to 15 from one party, and the top 15 candidates from each party advance to the general election.
The Guam Legislature carries on many of the same powers and duties as many U.S. territorial and state legislatures. The Legislature is noted as being one of the four rare unicameral legislatures in the United States, along with the Nebraska Legislature, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, and the Council of the District of Columbia.
After the enactment of the Organic Act, the First Guam Legislature was elected in 1950. The current 31st Guam Legislature (Chamorro: I Mina' Trentai Unu Na Liheslaturan Guåhan) was elected in November 2010 and serves from January 3, 2011 to January 6, 2013.
Make-up of the 30th Legislature (2009-2010) 
28th through 31th Legislatures 
|Source: Guam Election Commission|
The 29th Guam Legislature (January 2007 - December 2008) began with a slim 8-7 majority of the Republican Party with Mark Forbes as Speaker. In October 2007, Republican Senator Antonio (Tony) Unpingco died, and in a Special Election held in January 2008, Democratic 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  during which two "legislatures" with two "speakers" both claimed legitimacy, Republicans gave up their leadership  and Democratic Senator Judith Won Pat was elected speaker by the full legislature.
|Republican Party||228 177||51.8||9|
|Democratic Party||211 904||48.1||6|
|Total (Note Guam runs open primary style elections)||440 313||100%||15|
|Source: Guam Election Commission|
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, and Benjamin J.F. Cruz, who won a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Antonio R. Unpingco, also a former Speaker of the 27th Guam 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 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, Thomas C. Ada, Vicente "Ben" C. Pangelinan, Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Frank B. Aguon, Jr., and Michael F. Q. San Nicolas. The Republicans hold five seats (Minority Leader V. Anthony Ada, Christopher M. Duenas, Aline A. Yamashita, Brant McCreadie, Michael Limtiaco, and Thomas "Tommy" Morrison).
|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||2005–2009||Mark Forbes||Republican Party|
|30th - 32st Legislature||2009–present||Judith T.P. "Judi" Won Pat||Democratic Party|
- Who's really in charge? Tenorio says Democrats have 'rogue Legislature', Pacific Daily News, March 7, 2008
- Forbes, Tenorio resign: Democrats assume legislative leadership positions, Pacific Daily News, March 12, 2008