Legislature of Guam
|36th Guam Legislature|
|Founded||May 23, 1950|
|Preceded by||Guam Congress|
Sabina E. Perez(D)
since January 4, 2021
Assistant Majority Whip
Joe S. San Agustin(D)
since January 4, 2021
James C. Moylan(R)
since January 4, 2021
Frank F. Blas Jr.(R)
since January 4, 2021
Length of term
|2 years (no term limit)|
|Authority||Organic Act of Guam|
|November 3, 2020|
|November 8, 2022|
|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 36th Guam Legislature (Chamorro : I Mina' Trentai Singko Na Liheslaturan Guåhan) was elected in November 2020.
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 Guam Legislature||Antonio B. Won Pat||(1908–1987)||January 1, 1951 – January 3, 1955||Popular Party|
|2nd Guam Legislature|
|3rd Guam Legislature||Francisco B. Leon Guerrero||(1897–1974)||January 3, 1955 – January 7, 1957||Territorial Party|
|4th Guam Legislature||Antonio B. Won Pat||(1908–1987)||January 7, 1957 – January 4, 1965||Popular Party|
|5th Guam Legislature|
|6th Guam Legislature|
|7th Guam Legislature|
|8th Guam Legislature||Carlos P. Taitano||(1917–2009)||January 4, 1965 – January 2, 1967||Territorial 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, 1983||Republican|
|16th Guam Legislature|
|17th Guam Legislature||Carl T.C. Gutierrez||(b. 1941)||January 3, 1983 – January 5, 1987||Democratic|
|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 Legislature||Antonio "Tony" R. Unpingco||(1942–2007)||January 6, 1997 – January 6, 2003||Republican|
|25th Guam Legislature|
|26th Guam Legislature|
|27th Guam Legislature||Vicente "Ben" C. Pangelinan||(1955–2014)||January 6, 2003 – January 3, 2005||Democratic|
|28th Guam Legislature||Mark Forbes||(b. 1954)||January 3, 2005 – March 7, 2008||Republican|
|29th Guam Legislature|
|29th Guam Legislature||Judith T. Won Pat||(b. 1949)||March 7, 2008 – January 2, 2017||Democratic|
|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|
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.
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 Term||Election||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|
|36th Guam Legislature||2020||8||7||0||15|
Hagåtña is the capital village of the United States territory of Guam. From the 18th through mid-20th century, it was Guam's population center, but today it is the second smallest of the island's 19 villages in both area and population. However, it remains one of the island's major commercial districts in addition to being the seat of government.
Antonio Borja Won Pat was a Guamanian politician and member of the Democratic Party of Guam. He served the first Delegate from Guam to the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 1985.
Ricardo Jerome "Ricky" Bordallo was a Guamanian politician, businessman, and serving two terms as Governor of Guam with Lieutenant Governor Rudy Sablan from 1975 to 1979, and with Lieutenant Governor Edward Diego Reyes from 1983 to 1987. A member of the Democratic Party of Guam, Bordallo previously served as a Senator in the Guam Legislature from 1957 to 1971.
Carlos Garcia Camacho was a Guamanian politician and member of the Republican Party. He served as the last appointed Governor of Guam from 1969 to 1971 and the first elected Governor of Guam from 1971 to 1975. He was the father of Felix Camacho, a former senator in the Guam Legislature, who also served as Governor of Guam.
The Republican Party of Guam, commonly referred to as Guam GOP, is a political party in Guam affiliated with the United States Republican Party.
The Democratic Party of Guam is a political party in Guam affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Party. Its origins lie in the Popular Party, which was the only political party on Guam until 1956.
Chief Kepuha, also spelled Kipuhá or Quipuha, was the island of Guam's first Catholic chief. The chief's name means "to uphold." He granted land in the village of Hagåtña to Spanish missionaries, upon which was built the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica, the first Catholic church in the Marianas.
Carl Tommy Cruz Gutierrez was the 6th Governor of Guam, serving two four-year terms with Lieutenant Governor Madeleine Z. Bordallo from January 2, 1995 to January 6, 2003. Gutierrez previously served a total of nine terms as a Senator in the Guam Legislature and was chosen by his colleagues to serve as Speaker of the 17th and 18th Guam Legislatures, respectively.
The Legislature of the Virgin Islands is the territorial legislature of the United States Virgin Islands. The legislative branch of the unincorporated U.S. territory is unicameral, with a single house consisting of 15 senators, elected to two-year terms without term limits. The legislature meets in Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas.
Guam The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Guam:
The Government of Guam (GovGuam) is a presidential representative democratic system, whereby the President is the head of state and the Governor is head of government, and of a multi-party system. Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States with policy relations between Guam and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs.
Paul McDonald Calvo is a Guamanian politician who served as the third Governor of Guam from 1979 to 1983. Before his accession to the governorship, Calvo served as the Guam Legislature from 1971 to 1975. He is a member of the Republican Party of Guam.
Frank Blas Aguon Jr. is a Guamanian politician and army lieutenant. A Democrat, he served as the Legislature of Guam from 1997 to 2007, 2009 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2019. He is a former Vice-Speaker from 2003 to 2005.
Voting rights of citizens in Guam differ from those of United States citizens in each of the fifty states. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Guam is entitled to a delegate, who is not allowed to vote on the floor of the House, but can vote on procedural matters and in House committees. Citizens of Guam may not vote in general elections for President.
Michael Franklin Quitugua San Nicolas is a Guamanian Democratic Party politician, currently serving as the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for Guam's at-large congressional district. San Nicolas was elected by his colleagues in the 116th United States Congress to serve as Vice Chair of the United States House Committee on Financial Services. From 2013 to 2019, San Nicolas served as senator in the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th Guam Legislatures.
Judith Teresita Perez Won Pat, also known as Judi Won Pat, is a Guamanian politician, and teacher who served as the speaker of the Guam Legislature from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party from Guam, served as the senator of the Guam Legislature from 1994 to 2003 and again from 2005 to 2017. Won Pat was the former sitting chairperson of the Committee on Education, Public Library and Women’s Affairs in the 32nd Guam Legislature.
Franklin Joseph Arceo Quitugua was a Guamanian politician who served as a Democratic senator in 7 Guam Legislatures and as Speaker of the 19th Guam Legislature. He is the son of Ignacio Perez Quitugua, who served in the 1st and the 9th Guam Legislatures, and the grandfather of Congressman Michael F.Q. San Nicolas who is the Guam Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Amanda L. Shelton is a politician in Guam. Shelton currently serves as a senator in the Guam Legislature. Shelton was chosen by her colleagues to serve as Legislative Secretary and Majority Whip and Chairperson of the Committee on Higher Education and the Advancement of Women, Youth, and Senior Citizens.
Jose Toves Terlaje, known as Pedo Terlaje, is a politician in Guam. Terlaje currently serves as a senator in the Guam Legislature and Chairperson of the Committee on Public Safety, Border Safety, Military and Veteran Affairs, Mayors Council, Infrastructure and Public Transit.