Guam – The 31st Guam Legislature was sworn in today [mONDAY]. And while the democrats have retained the majority and have kept the same leadership, there are six new faces now at the Antonio Unpingco Legislative Hall.
The new first time senators and the members of the old guard gathered to be officially sworn in as lawmakers in Guam’s 31st Legislature. Speaker Judi Won Pat gave her inaugural address focussing on the importance of unity.
“It seems at times we have forgotten that we are a family finding ways to distance ourselves from each other using labels like pro or anti liberal or conservative forgetting that we are all fighting under the same stars for the same future forgetting that we are all pro Guahan and anti opression. We’ve forgotten that this island is only 30 miles long and about 7-8 miles wide and like it or not there isn’t enough room for us not to be a family.”
She also spoke about the wisdom of Chamorro ancestors who understood the importance of getting along on such a small island and about the concept of inafamaolek.
“This concept of restoring harmony through genuine compassion and altruism uphold six traditional chamorro values chelu, mangingi, patgon, respetu,chenchule, and umidi. It is my vision that as a government we embrace these values and we remember what it means to be a family again.”
She reminded everyone to think about their children and how the decisions they make today will affect their children’s futures saying they can’t allow their petty difference to taint the futures of their children.
“Our family ties may not be forged in blood but they are bound by love for this island and our unique way of life and if your love for this special place is enough to motivate you to defend it then we truly are brothers and sisters regardles of race class or religion.”
At the end of her speech Won pat pledged to work with the new administration for the betterment of the entire island. here is the breakdown of the new 31st Guam Legislature.
Retaining their positions from the Thirtieth Guam Legislature, Senators Judith T. Won Pat, Benjamin J.F. Cruz,Tina Rose Muña Barnes and Rory J. Respicio were re-elected to serve as Speaker, Vice-Speaker, Legislative Secretary and Committee on Rules Chair, respectively, for the Thirty-first Legislature.
Additional committees and chairpersons were selected as follows:
· Committee on Rules, Federal, Foreign & Micronesian Affairs and Human & Natural Resources – Chaired by Senator Rory J. Respicio.
· Committee on Appropriations, Taxation, Public Debt, Banking, Insurance, Retirement and Land – Chaired by Senator vicente “ben” c. pangelinan.
· Committee on Education and Public Libraries – Chaired by Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, Ed.D.
· Committee on Health & Human Services, Senior Citizens, Economic Development and Election Reform – Chaired by Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.
· Committee on Youth, Cultural Affairs, Procurement, General Government Operations and Public Broadcasting – Chaired by Vice-Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz.
· Committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing and Recreation – Chaired by Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes.
· Committee on Public Safety, Law Enforcement and Judiciary – Chaired by Senator Adolpho B. Palacios, Sr.
· Committee on Utilities, Transportation, Public Works and Veterans Affairs – Chaired by Senator Thomas C. Ada.
· Committee on the Guam Military Buildup and Homeland Security – Chaired by Senator Judith Paulette Guthertz, DPA.
Party leadership positions were also announced as follows:
· Majority Leader, Senator Rory J. Respicio
· Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Judith P. Gutherz, DPA
· Majority Whip, Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes
· Assistant Majority Whip, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.
·Minority Leader, Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr.
· Assistant Minority Leader, Senator Aline A. Yamashita, Ph.D.
· Minority Whip, Senator V. Anthony Ada
· Assistant Minority Whip, Senator Mana Silva Taijeron
Legislative attachés were elected as follows:
· Legislative Legal Counsel, Therese M. Terlaje
· Clerk of the Legislature, Patricia C. Santos
· Sergeant-at-Arms, Thomas J. Unsiog
· Chaplain, Pale Agustin Gumataotao, Cap