Legislature of Guam

Last updated
Legislature of Guam

Liheslaturan Guåhan
36th Guam Legislature
Seal of Guam.svg
Term limits
no limit
FoundedMay 23, 1950
Preceded byGuam Congress
Therese M. Terlaje (D)
since January 4, 2021
Vice Speaker
Tina Rose Muña Barnes (D)
since January 4, 2021
Majority Leader
Telena Cruz Nelson (D)
since January 7, 2019
Legislative Secretary
Amanda Shelton (D)
since January 7, 2019
Majority Whip
Sabina E. Perez(D)
since January 4, 2021
Assistant Majority Whip
Joe S. San Agustin(D)
since January 4, 2021
Minority Leader
James C. Moylan(R)
since January 4, 2021
Minority Whip
Frank F. Blas Jr.(R)
since January 4, 2021
Legislature of Guam 2020.svg
Political groups
  •   Democratic (8)


Length of term
2 years (no term limit)
Authority Organic Act of Guam
Salary$55,000 [1]
Plurality-at-large voting
Last election
November 3, 2020
Next election
November 8, 2022
Meeting place
Guam Congress Building in Agaña, Guam
Organic Act of Guam
Seal of Guam.svg
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 36th Guam Legislature (Chamorro : I Mina' Trentai Singko Na Liheslaturan Guåhan) was elected in November 2020.



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.

Speakers of the Guam Legislature

1st Guam Legislature Antonio B. Won Pat (1908–1987)January 1, 1951 – January 3, 1955Popular Party
2nd Guam Legislature
3rd Guam Legislature Francisco B. Leon Guerrero(1897–1974)January 3, 1955 – January 7, 1957Territorial Party
4th Guam Legislature Antonio B. Won Pat (1908–1987)January 7, 1957 – January 4, 1965Popular Party
5th Guam Legislature
6th Guam Legislature
7th Guam Legislature
8th Guam Legislature Carlos P. Taitano(1917–2009)January 4, 1965 – January 2, 1967Territorial Party
9th Guam Legislature Joaquin C. "Kin" Arriola (b. 1925)January 2, 1967 – January 4, 1971 Democratic
10th Guam Legislature
11th Guam Legislature Florencio T. Ramirez (1915–1995)January 4, 1971 – January 6, 1975
12th Guam Legislature
13th Guam Legislature Joseph F. Ada (b. 1943)January 6, 1975 – January 1, 1979 Republican
14th Guam Legislature
15th Guam Legislature Thomas V.C. Tanaka (b. 1940)January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983Republican
16th Guam Legislature
17th Guam Legislature Carl T.C. Gutierrez (b. 1941)January 3, 1983 – January 5, 1987Democratic
18th Guam Legislature
19th Guam Legislature Franklin J. Arceo Quitugua (1933–2015)January 5, 1987 – January 2, 1989
20th Guam Legislature Joe T. San Agustin (b. 1931)January 2, 1989 – January 2, 1995
21st Guam Legislature
22nd Guam Legislature
23rd Guam Legislature Don Parkinson (1942–2020)January 2, 1995 – January 6, 1997
24th Guam LegislatureAntonio "Tony" R. Unpingco(1942–2007)January 6, 1997 – January 6, 2003Republican
25th Guam Legislature
26th Guam Legislature
27th Guam Legislature Vicente "Ben" C. Pangelinan (1955–2014)January 6, 2003 – January 3, 2005Democratic
28th Guam Legislature Mark Forbes(b. 1954)January 3, 2005 – March 7, 2008Republican
29th Guam Legislature
29th Guam Legislature Judith T. Won Pat (b. 1949)March 7, 2008 – January 2, 2017Democratic
30th Guam Legislature
31st Guam Legislature
32nd Guam Legislature
33rd Guam Legislature
34th Guam Legislature Benjamin J.F. Cruz (b. 1951)January 2, 2017 – August 28, 2018
Therese M. Terlaje (acting)(b. 1964)August 28, 2018 – January 7, 2019
35th Guam Legislature Tina Muña Barnes (b. 1962)January 7, 2019 – January 4, 2021
36th Guam Legislature Therese M. Terlaje(b. 1964)January 4, 2021 – present

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.


The qualifications for membership in the legislature are expressly stated in the Organic Act of Guam:


The legislature currently meets at the Guam Congress Building along Chalan Santo Papa in the village of Hagåtña, directly across from the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica.

Historic composition

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.

The parties are as follows:    Democratic (D),    Popular (P),    Republican (R), and    Territorial (T).

Legislative TermElectionDemocratsRepublicansIndependents/OtherTotal Seats [2]
1st Guam Legislature 1950 002121
2nd Guam Legislature 1952 002121
3rd Guam Legislature 1954 002121
4th Guam Legislature 1956 002121
5th Guam Legislature 1958002121
6th Guam Legislature 1960 002121
7th Guam Legislature 1962002121
8th Guam Legislature 1964 002121
9th Guam Legislature 1966 210021
10th Guam Legislature 1968210021
11th Guam Legislature 1970156021
12th Guam Legislature 1972147021
13th Guam Legislature 1974912021
14th Guam Legislature 1976813021
15th Guam Legislature 1978 714021
16th Guam Legislature 19801011021
17th Guam Legislature 1982147021
18th Guam Legislature 1984 1110021
19th Guam Legislature 1986138021
20th Guam Legislature 1988138021
21st Guam Legislature 1990129021
22nd Guam Legislature 1992138021
23rd Guam Legislature 1994138021
24th Guam Legislature 19961011021
25th Guam Legislature 1998 312015
26th Guam Legislature 2000 78015
27th Guam Legislature 2002 96015
28th Guam Legislature 2004 69015
29th Guam Legislature 2006 78015
Jan. 200887015
30th Guam Legislature 2008 105015
31st Guam Legislature 2010 96015
32nd Guam Legislature 2012 96015
33rd Guam Legislature 2014 96015
34th Guam Legislature 2016 96015
35th Guam Legislature 2018 105015
36th Guam Legislature 2020 87015

See also

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  1. http://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2016/12/02/senators-cut-their-salaries-55000/94790106/
  2. Guam Election Commission. 2016 Election Comparative Analysis Report. Hagatna, 2017.

Coordinates: 13°28′32.5″N144°44′55.7″E / 13.475694°N 144.748806°E / 13.475694; 144.748806