Former Speaker Joe T. San Agustin mourned; leaders pay tribute

Former Speaker Joe T. San Agustin

The island is mourning the death of former Speaker Joe T San Agustin and tributes from Guam leaders have started to come in.

Congressman Michael San Nicolas said he and his family wish to extend their hearts and prayers for Speaker Joe T. San Agustin and his family.

“Speaker San Agustin served with my grandpa during their time in the legislature, and dedicated his entire life to public service. Our island has lost an icon, but we know he is happy with Auntie May,” the congressman said.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio issued the following statements regarding the passing of Former Speaker Joe Taitano San Agustin:

“We join the island in mourning the passing of former Speaker Joe T. San Agustin. Speaker San Agustin lived a life dedicated to faith, politics, and serving the People of Guam. As the Speaker and Executive Director of the Guam Base Reuse and Closure (BRAC) Office, he was instrumental in shepherding the return and reuse of Tiyan. He was also Director of Administration to Governor Manuel FL Guerrero, the last appointed governor, and Governor Carlos Camacho, the first elected governor. In the Guam Legislature, he focused on protecting public finances, economic development, and uplifting every single person on our island. Speaker San Agustin was a staunch defender of the Government of Guam Retirement Fund and served as the Chairman of its elected board. Our island lost a great advocate today,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “Our deepest condolences and sympathies go out to his children—Senator Joe, Annie, Mary, John, and their families. As a friend, I will miss him. As an island, we will miss a great statesman, an advocate for the people of Guam, a compassionate public official, and a devoted Catholic. Thank you Joe for all that you have done for our people.”

“Speaker Joe T. San Agustin was a giant in politics. He helped shape and reform our public institutions and build Guam’s economic engines to generate wealth and prosperity for the island. He was well regarded by leaders of all persuasions and will be remembered as one of the most effective policymakers to have ever served our island,” said Lt. Governor Tenorio.

Speaker of the 36th Guam Legislature Therese Terlaje also released the following statement:

“It is with great sorrow that I extend condolences from the 36th Guam Legislature to the family of the late Honorable Speaker Joe Taitano San Augustin … In his long and distinguished tenure as Senator and Speaker, Joe T. San Agustin was instrumental in the establishment of many agencies, services and programs of the government of Guam and fought for retirement security for employees after their long years of sacrifice and service to the government of Guam. Even after serving in the Guam Legislature, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Government of Guam Retirement Fund for over two decades. From 1997 to 2001, he also served as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Guam.

“Speaker San Agustin, fondly known as “Speaker Joe T.” served as the Speaker of the 20th, 21st, and 22nd Guam Legislatures, and as a Senator from 1977 to 1996, serving in the 14th to the 23rd Guam Legislatures.

“Prior to serving in the Legislature, Joe T. served in various capacities in the government of Guam and was instrumental in the transition of Guam’s government and agencies from appointed Governors to Guam’s first elected Governor. In 1962, he led 20 government employees in donating to establish the Government of Guam Federal Credit Union. He later served on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Guam.

“Speaker Joe Taitano San Agustin was born in 1931 to Candido Sanchez San Agustin and Maria Taitano San Agustin of Hagatña. He was married to +Carmen Shimizu San Agustin and they have five children, including Senator Joe S. San Agustin who serves as a member of the 36th Guam Legislature.

His exemplary work ethic and service to lifting our people will forever remain an inspiration and standard by which future leaders should model themselves after. We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to his family during their time of grief.”

The Republican Party of Guam also mourned the passing of the former speaker, saying San Agustin was a true public servant and his dedication to the people of Guam will be missed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his son, Senator Joe Shimizu San Agustin and to his entire family and many friends,” the GOP said in a statement.