Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE FIRST "MODERN" LEGISLATURE



11th Guam Legislature (1970-1972)


Why "modern?"

Many people are not aware that the Guam Legislature, created in 1950 by the Organic Act, underwent some important changes in 1968.

These changes enacted in 1968 were to take effect in the next round of elections in 1970. That year, the 11th Guam Legislature was elected.

The changes included :

1. Giving a title for the members of the Legislature. In the original Organic Act (1950), no title was given. Now they would be called "senators."

2. Lifting the limitation how often the Guam Legislature could meet. In the original Organic Act, the Legislature could meet for only 60 days in a year (not including emergency, special sessions). This was usually broken down into two, 30-day sessions. This meant that the lawmakers did not meet year-round; it was a part-time legislature. Members had full-time jobs as lawyers, businessmen and what have you. Salaries were low. Staff was small and shared among all 21 members.

With the 1968 changes to go into effect in 1970, the Legislature could meet as often as it desired. This encouraged many senators to become full-time lawmakers with higher salaries. Each senator was given the power to hire staff and a budget to fund that. This is what we mean by a "modern" Legislature.


THE DEMOCRATIC RIFT IN 1970

The gubernatorial campaign of 1970 was an exciting, passionate time; the first time Guam was allowed to elect its own governor, rather than receive a Washington appointee, who were, in the 1950s, all statesiders.

The Democratic Party, the dominant party on Guam, divided along three lines.

The Governor Guerrero Camp

Manuel Guerrero had been the appointed Governor of Guam from 1963 until 1969. He threw his hat in the ring to run for Governor in 1970. Having been Governor for around 6 years, appointing directors and other officials, Guerrero had a following among them. He put up his own candidates for the Guam Legislature in 1970 and the following eight won :

Allen Sekt
Jose Ramirez Dueñas
Adrian Sanchez
Joaquin Perez
William (Bilmar) Flores
Oscar Delfin
Tomas Charfauros

The Ricky Bordallo Camp

The charismatic Bordallo, who served many terms in the Guam Legislature, and who was involved in turning the old Popular Party into the Democratic Party, enjoyed great influence in the Party and also ran for Governor in 1970. He had his own candidates, and the following seven won :

Florencio Ramirez
Frank Lujan
Adrian (Nito) Cristobal
Francisco Santos
Paul Bordallo
Leonard Paulino
James Butler

The Joaquin Arriola Camp

The Speaker of the 10th Guam Legislature, Joaquin Arriola also ran for Governor in 1970 and put up his own candidates for the Legislature under the Democratic banner. Only one won : George Bamba.

The Republican Minority

The Democratic winners from the three camps numbered 15 members, a handsome majority (more than 2/3).

The six Republicans were :

Paul Calvo
Ben Ada
Concepcion (Chong) Barrett
Tomas Tanaka, Sr
Pedro Perez, Sr
Tomas Ramirez Santos

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