Guam women rise to power

HAGÅTÑA — Bank executive Lou Leon Guerrero became Guam’s first female governor following Tuesday’s hotly contested race that brought a Democrat back to Adelup.

Lou Leon Guerrero

Based on the Guam Election Commission’s unofficial results, Leon Guerrero and her running mate Joshua Tenorio garnered 18,081 votes, or 50.70 percent of the votes cast, averting a runoff that was speculated as a result of a three-way match.

According to election law, a gubernatorial candidate must obtain 50 plus one to win an election.

Leon Guerrero’s Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio and his running mate Tony Ada, received 9,419 votes (26.41 percent), while write-in candidate Frank Aguon and his running mate Alicia Limtiaco received 8,161 votes (22.88 percent).

“This election has been rough for our entire community,” Leon Guerrero said in a brief victory speech before her supporters after the GEC completed the vote count Wednesday morning. “And as we move forward in healing, Josh and I look forward to working on behalf of all the people of Guam. Over the last two years, you have invited us into your homes. We have listened to your concerns, and with your input, developed a plan to change Guam for the better.”

The only pro-choice candidate in a predominantly conservative Catholic community, Leon Guerrero also battled the conflict-of-interest issue. Her family owns the Bank of Guam, which holds the government of Guam’s account. She also survived allegations of racism resulting from her “I was born and raised here, Ray” speech.

“Now, you have entrusted us with the responsibility to carry out that mandate. Josh and I commit to you that we will apply the principles of fairness, equality and justice to the highest level of your government,” Leon Guerrero said. “We will fight for fair wages, enhance public safety, health care and education, and work each and every day to improve your quality of life. The healing begins now. The work begins now. And we are honored to be by your side as we enter this new era of change and prosperity.”

Leon Guerrero is the first Democrat to set foot in Adelup since former. Gov. Carl Gutierrez ended his term in Jan. 2003.

The Tenorio-Ada team has yet to concede. “We would like to thank our supporters and the people of Guam for exercising their right to vote,” the Tenorio-Ada camp said. “Because of the slim margin for a 50 percent +1 declaration and the absentee ballots that remain to be counted, it is prudent that we wait on this process to be completed next week.”

Leon Guerrero, a former nurse, served as a senator of the 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th, and the 28th Guam Legislatures before assuming the leadership of the billion-dollar the family-owned Bank of Guam in 2011. In 1998, Leon Guerrero ran as the running mate of Sen. Thomas C. Ada in a primary gubernatorial challenge of the incumbent ticket of Carl Gutierrez and Madeleine Bordallo.

 Leon Guerrero is the daughter of Bank of Guam founder Jesus Sablan Leon Guerrero and Eugenia Calvo Aflague Leon Guerrero. She earned her nursing degree at California State University, where she also obtained her master’s in public health. She worked as a staff nurse at Santa Monica Hospital in Santa Monica in California. She returned to Guam in 1980 to work at the Guam Memorial Hospital, where she became assistant nursing director.

Therese Terlaje

The rise of women power on Guam is also evident in the incoming 35th Guam Legislature, which will be composed of nine women senators led by Speaker Therese Terlaje, the most senior legislator who topped the legislative race. Incumbent senators Telena Nelson (D), Mary Camacho Torres (R),  Regine Biscoe Lee (D) and Luisa Muna (R) have secured their seats for another term. Former senators, Tina Muna Barnes (D) and Telo Taitague (R) found their way back to the session hall. They will be joined by newcomers Amanda Shelto, Sabina Perez and Kelly Marsh.

Incumbents Will Castro (R), Joe San Agustin (D) have been reelected.

Also winning legislative seats were businessman James Moylan (R) and former broadcast journalist Clynt Ridgel (D).

Landing on the 15th spot, Jose Terlaje (D) is hanging by the thread. With 11,840 votes, Terlaje was ahead of Celestine Cruz Babauta (D), who received 11,768 votes and Adolfo Palacios (D), who got 11,721. A recount for these spots is anticipated.

The Democratic Party obtained a super majority with 10 members versus the Republican Party’s five.

In the U.S. delegate race, Democrat Mike San Nicolas received 19,053 votes to beat Republican Doris Flores Brooks who garnered 15,263.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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