The Legislature of Guam (Liheslaturan Guåhan in Chamorro) 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 34th Guam Legislature (Chamorro: I Mina' Trentai Kuåttro Na Liheslaturan Guåhan) was elected in November of 2016.
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.
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.
|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 – present||Democratic|
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.
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.
In the November 2010 legislative elections, the Democratic Party defeated the Republican Party. The Democrats held 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 (Minority Leader Frank F. Blas Jr., Aline Yamashita, V. Anthony Ada, Christopher M. Duenas, Shirley "Sam" Mabini, and Mana Silva Taijeron).
|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|
|Christopher M. Duenas||Republican||15,703|
|Benjamin J.F. Cruz||Democratic||15,090|
|Judith T. Won Pat||Democratic||15,031|
|Tina R. Muna Barnes||Democratic||14,746|
|Vicente C. Pangelinan||Democratic||14,707|
|Aline A. Yamashita||Republican||14,203|
|Rory J. Respicio||Democratic||14,042|
|Name||Party Affiliation||Votes Received|
|Frank B. Aguon, Jr.||Democratic||23,089|
|Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.||Democratic||21,705|
|Vicente Anthony Ada||Republican||20,269|
|Thomas Aaron Morrison||Republican||19,381|
|Thomas C. Ada||Democratic||19,006|
|Mary Camacho Torres||Republican||17,758|
|Nerissa Bretania Underwood||Democratic||16,760|
|Judith T.P. Won Pat||Democratic||16,726|
|Michael F.Q. San Nicolas||Democratic||16,650|
|Tina R. Muña-Barnes||Democratic||16,521|
|Frank Blas, Jr.||Republican||16,452|
|Benjamin J.F. Cruz||Democratic||15,950|
|Rory J. Respicio||Democratic||15,671|
|Name||Party Affiliation||Votes Received|
|Frank B. Aguon, Jr.||Democratic||21,070|
|Michael F.Q. San Nicolas||Democratic||19,686|
|Therese M. Terlaje||Democratic||19,681|
|Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.||Democratic||17,600|
|Telena Cruz Nelson||Democratic||16,922|
|William Mendiola Castro||Republican||15,599|
|James Virata Espaldon||Republican||14,998|
|Regine Biscoe Lee||Democratic||14,864|
|Mary Camacho Torres||Republican||14,792|
|Benjamin J.F. Cruz||Democratic||14,436|
|Louisa Borja Muña||Republican||13,666|
|Thomas Aaron Morrison||Republican||13,634|
|Thomas Castro Ada||Democratic||13,053|
|Fernando Barcinas Esteves||Republican||12,982|
|Joe Shimizu San Agustin||Democratic||12,532|