Legislature of Guam
Legislature of Guam
|35th Guam Legislature|
|Founded||May 23, 1950|
|Preceded by||Guam Congress|
Vice Speaker and Majority Leader
Legislative Secretary and Majority Whip
Telo Taitague (R)
since January 7, 2019
Length of term
|2 years (no term limit)|
|Authority||Organic Act of Guam|
|November 6, 2018|
|November 3, 2020|
|Guam Congress Building in Agaña, Guam|
|Organic Act of Guam|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Legislature of Guam (Chamorro: Liheslaturan Guåhan) is the law-making body for the United States territory of Guam. The unicameral legislative branch consists of fifteen senators, each serving for a two-year term. All members of the legislature are elected at-large with the island under one whole district. After the enactment of the Guam Organic Act in 1950, the First Guam Legislature was elected composing of 21 elected members. Today, the current fifteen-member 35th Guam Legislature (Chamorro: I Mina' Trentai Singko Na Liheslaturan Guåhan) was elected in November 2018.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure of the Guam Legislature
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Seat
- 5 24th through 31st Guam Legislatures
- 6 Historic Composition of the Guam Legislature
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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–present
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.
Past Speakers of the Guam Legislature
|1st–2nd Legislature||Antonio B. Won Pat||(1908–1987)||January 1, 1951 – January 3, 1955||Popular Party|
|3rd Legislature||Francisco B. Leon Guerrero||(1897–1974)||January 3, 1955 – January 7, 1957||Territorial Party|
|4th–7th Legislature||Antonio B. Won Pat||(1908–1987)||January 7, 1957 – January 4, 1965||Popular Party|
|8th Legislature||Carlos P. Taitano||(1917–2009)||January 4, 1965 – January 2, 1967||Territorial Party|
|9th–10th Legislature||Joaquin C. Arriola||(b. 1925)||January 2, 1967 – January 4, 1971||Democratic|
|11th–12th Legislature||Florencio T. Ramirez||(1915–1995)||January 4, 1971 – January 6, 1975||Democratic|
|13th–14th Legislature||Joseph F. Ada||(b. 1943)||January 6, 1975 – January 1, 1979||Republican|
|15th–16th Legislature||Thomas V.C. Tanaka||(b. 1940)||January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983||Republican|
|17th–18th Legislature||Carl T.C. Gutierrez||(b. 1941)||January 3, 1983 – January 5, 1987||Democratic|
|19th Legislature||Franklin J. Arceo Quitugua||(1933–2015)||January 5, 1987 – January 2, 1989||Democratic|
|20th–22nd Legislature||Joe Taitano San Agustin||(b. 1931)||January 2, 1989 – January 2, 1995||Democratic|
|23rd Legislature||Don Parkinson||(b. ?)||January 2, 1995 – January 6, 1997||Democratic|
|24th–26th Legislature||Antonio "Tony" R. Unpingco||(1942–2007)||January 6, 1997 – January 6, 2003||Republican|
|27th Legislature||Vicente "Ben" C. Pangelinan||(1955–2014)||January 6, 2003 – January 3, 2005||Democratic|
|28th–29th Legislature||Mark Forbes||(b. 1954)||January 3, 2005 – March 7, 2008||Republican|
|29th–33rd Legislature||Judith T. Won Pat||(b. 1949)||March 7, 2008 – January 2, 2017||Democratic|
|34th Legislature||Benjamin J.F. Cruz||(b. 1951)||January 2, 2017 – August 28, 2018||Democratic|
|35th Legislature||Tina Muna Barnes||(b. 1962)||January 7, 2019 – present||Democratic|
Structure of the Guam Legislature
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.
- a candidate must be at least twenty-five years old, and;
- a candidate must have lived on Guam for at least five years preceding the sitting of the legislature in which he or she seeks to become a member.
24th through 31st Guam Legislatures
In the November 1996 legislative elections, the Republican Party defeated the Democratic Party. The Republicans held 11 seats (Antonio Unpingco, Anthony C. Blaz, Joanne M. Salas Brown, Mark Forbes, Felix Perez Camacho, Eduardo J. Cruz, Alberto C. Lamorena V, Lawrence F. Kasperbauer, Carlotta Leon Guerrero, Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson and John C. Salas). The Democrats held 10 seats (Vicente C. Pangelinan, Lou Leon Guerrero, Franciso P. Camacho, Thomas C. Ada, Frank B. Aguon Jr., Mark C. Charfauros, Francis E. Santos, Judith Won Pat-Borja, Willam Flores, and Angel L.G. Santos).
In the November 1998 legislative elections, the Republican Party defeated the Democratic Party. The Republicans held a 12-seat "super" majority (Speaker Antonio Unpingco, Vice Speaker Anthony C. Blaz, Legislative Secretary Joanne M. Salas Brown, Majority Leader Mark Forbes, Asst. Majority leader Eddie Calvo, Majority Whip Lawrence F. Kasperbauer, Asst. Majority Whip Kaleo Moylan, Simon A. Sanchez II, Marcel G. Camacho, Alberto "Tony" C. Lamorena V, Carlotta A. Leon Guerrero, and Dr. John C. Salas). The Democrats held three seats (Vicente C. Pangelinan, Eulogio C. Bermudes, and Frank B. Aguon Jr.).
In the November 2000 legislative elections, the Republican Party defeated the Democratic Party. The Republicans held 8 seats (Speaker Antonio Unpingco, Vice Speaker Lawrence F. Kasperbauer, Legislative Secretary Joanne M. Salas Brown, Majority Leader Mark Forbes, Asst. Majority leader Eddie Calvo, Majority Whip Felix Perez Camacho, Asst. Majority Whip Kaleo Moylan, and Joseph F. Ada). The Democrats held seven seats (Vicente C. Pangelinan, Lou Leon Guerrero, Mark C. Charfauros, Judith Won Pat-Borja, Thomas C. Ada, Frank B. Aguon Jr. and Angel L.G. Santos).
In the November 2002 legislative elections, the Democratic Party defeated the Republican Party. The Democrats held 9 seats (Speaker Vicente C. Pangelinan, Vice Speaker Frank B. Aguon, Jr., Legislative Secretary Tina R. Muna Barnes, Majority Leader Lou Leon Guerrero, Asst. Majority leader Antoinette Sanford, Majority Whip Carmen Fernandez, Asst. Majority Whip John M. Quinata, Rory J. Respicio, and F. Randall Cunliffe). The Republicans held six seats (Mark Forbes, Joanne M. Salas Brown, Lawrence Kasperbauer, Jesse Anderson Lujan, Robert Kiltzkie and Ray Tenorio).
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 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.
In the November 2008 legislative elections, the Democratic Party defeated the Republican Party. The Democrats held 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, Frank B. Aguon Jr., and Matthew J. Rector. The Republicans held five seats (Minority Leader Edward B. Calvo, Ray Tenorio, Frank F. Blas Jr., James V. Espaldon, and Telo Taitague).
On January 19, 2010, Democratic Senator Matt Rector resigned from office. Former Republican candidate, Vicente Anthony "Tony" Ada, was declared the winner of the special election held to fill the vacancy resulting from the Rector resignation. He was sworn-in as Senator on March 22, 2010.
Historic Composition of the Guam Legislature
The biennial legislative terms and the years of general elections are listed in the table below, along with the number of Democratic, Republican, and Independents and Other Parties' seats in each respective legislative term.
|Legislative Term||Election Year||Democrats||Republicans||Independents/Other||Total Seats|
|1st Guam Legislature||1950||0||0||21||21|
|2nd Guam Legislature||1952||0||0||21||21|
|3rd Guam Legislature||1954||0||0||21||21|
|4th Guam Legislature||1956||0||0||21||21|
|5th Guam Legislature||1958||0||0||21||21|
|6th Guam Legislature||1960||0||0||21||21|
|7th Guam Legislature||1962||0||0||21||21|
|8th Guam Legislature||1964||0||0||21||21|
|9th Guam Legislature||1966||21||0||0||21|
|10th Guam Legislature||1968||21||0||0||21|
|11th Guam Legislature||1970||15||6||0||21|
|12th Guam Legislature||1972||14||7||0||21|
|13th Guam Legislature||1974||9||12||0||21|
|14th Guam Legislature||1976||8||13||0||21|
|15th Guam Legislature||1978||7||14||0||21|
|16th Guam Legislature||1980||10||11||0||21|
|17th Guam Legislature||1982||14||7||0||21|
|18th Guam Legislature||1984||11||10||0||21|
|19th Guam Legislature||1986||13||8||0||21|
|20th Guam Legislature||1988||13||8||0||21|
|21st Guam Legislature||1990||12||9||0||21|
|22nd Guam Legislature||1992||13||8||0||21|
|23rd Guam Legislature||1994||13||8||0||21|
|24th Guam Legislature||1996||10||11||0||21|
|25th Guam Legislature||1998||3||12||0||15|
|26th Guam Legislature||2000||7||8||0||15|
|27th Guam Legislature||2002||9||6||0||15|
|28th Guam Legislature||2004||6||9||0||15|
|29th Guam Legislature||2006||7||8||0||15|
|30th Guam Legislature||2008||10||5||0||15|
|31st Guam Legislature||2010||9||6||0||15|
|32nd Guam Legislature||2012||9||6||0||15|
|33rd Guam Legislature||2014||9||6||0||15|
|34th Guam Legislature||2016||9||6||0||15|
|35th Guam Legislature||2018||10||5||0||15|
- Who's really in charge? Tenorio says Democrats have 'rogue Legislature', Pacific Daily News, March 7, 2008[permanent dead link]
- Forbes, Tenorio resign: Democrats assume legislative leadership positions, Pacific Daily News, March 12, 2008[permanent dead link]
- Guam Election Commission. 2016 Election Comparative Analysis Report. Hagatna, 2017.