Guam – The 31st Guam legislature was sworn in today. While the democrats have retained the majority and have kept the same leadership, there are six new faces to the Antonio Unpingco legislative hall.
The new first time senators and the members of the old guard gathered today to be officially sworn in as lawmakers in Guam’s 31st Guam legislature. Speaker Judi Wonpat gave her inaugural address focusing 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 oppression. 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,” Speaker Wonpat.
She 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,” said Speaker Wonpat
She reminded everyone to think about their children and how the decisions they make today will affect their children’s lives 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 regardless of race class or religion,” said Speaker Wonpat
At the end of her speech Wonpat pledged to work with the new administration for the betterment of the entire island of Guam.
Here is the breakdown of the 31st Guam Legislature.
Speaker Judi Wonpat will chair the Committee on Education, Vice-Speaker BJ Cruz will chair the Committee on Procurement, and Governance with oversight of the Department of Administration and OPA as well as the Committee on Youth, Cultural Affairs, Public Broadcasting and Libraries. Legislative secretary and majority whip Tina Muna Barnes will have the committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing and Recreation. Majority leader Senator Rory Respicio will have the committee on Rules, Federal, Foreign, and Micronesian Affairs and will serve as human and natural resources assistant. Senator Judi Guthertz will chair the committee on the Guam military buildup, homeland security and public governance. The Assistant Majority Whip Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. will chair the committee on health and human services, senior citizens, economic development and election reform. Senator Thomas Ada will head up the committee on utilities, transportation, public works, and veterans affairs. Senator Adolpho Palacios Sr. will run the committee on judiciary, public safety and law enforcement. Finally, Senator Ben Pangelinan will head up the committee on appropriations taxation banking, insurance, retirement and land.
As for the republican minority their leader for the 31st Guam legislature will be Senator Frank Blas Jr.