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Democrats to meet and determine leadership structure

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - With the general election results finally certified, what's up for grabs now is the role of the speaker - a position Judi Won Pat has held for the past four years. And while she's game for the responsibility once again, other names have since been thrown in the mix.

When there are attacks on the Guam Legislature, it's normally the speaker who gets the hits. That's according to Won Pat, who has held the title for the last two consecutive legislative terms. She told KUAM News, "One of the jobs of the speaker would be to the like a buffer, so to speak, of the Legislature where there are attacks coming from all directions, it's normally the speaker who gets hit. The second thing is working really hard to retain or to gain the majority."

And it's a task she's willing to take should her colleagues select her. However, she knows anyone can put their names in the hat. "There's just some things that you would normally want to look at in terms of respecting seniority in either caucus in the republican side and the democratic side," she stated.

One of the names that has been floating around is Senator Tom Ada, who has served six non-consecutive terms. He agrees with Won Pat, saying seniority is a major factor. "The selection is normally based on seniority and experience," he said, "and the leadership that has been demonstrated by that particular individual, which gives confidence to his colleagues that he'll be able to provide the leadership that's necessary of the Legislature."

And while there's a possibility his colleagues could select him instead, Ada says he doesn't see a need to replace Won Pat and believes she's done a good job for the past two terms. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but at this point I'm not chasing after it simply because I have other issues that I want to pursue," he said.

And while both discuss seniority, another name that has been floating around is freshman Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. who was re-elected to serve his second term and was the top overall votegetter this past election. "I know I've heard the same thing - what needs to happen is a coming together of the senators-elect, and from there I would respect what the group would want and how to proceed," he said.

He adds whether it's a leadership position or just chairing a committee, he's committed to representing the people's best interests.

Meanwhile, it seems freshman status isn't phasing other possibilities, as newcomer Senator Elect-Michael San Nicolas has also been mentioned to be in contention. He tells KUAM News he's not interested in any leadership position at this time, adding he has a lot to learn and wants to focus on key areas - specifically on economic development.

Speaker Won Pat meanwhile says she hopes to meet with the majority before the end of the year once all members are on-island. 

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