Tina Muna Barnes leads 35th Guam Legislature - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Tina Muna Barnes leads 35th Guam Legislature

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Before a packed crowd at the Guam Congress Building in Hagatna, the island’s newly elected senators were sworn into office. Sen. Tina Muna Barnes was elected speaker. She began her inaugural address by thanking all of the island’s elders for the 75 years of freedom we enjoy today.

Speaker Barnes acknowledged the two people that have inspired her and got her started in politics, first acknowledging former Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez.

Barnes said she was working at the Public Defenders’ Office when she received a call to report to Adelup to lead a new agency called the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals for Disabilities. The agency was created through legislation introduced by then Sen. Lou Leon Guerrero. The speaker said Gutierrez told her that he needed an individual with a big heart to which she responded, “I am that woman.”

The speaker next addressed her father, the late Bill Muna, who taught her lessons that she uses in life and leadership.

She said her role as speaker is more about listening than speaking, hearing both sides of a debate, enforcing rules, and ensuring that everyone is heard. Barnes added that you must be honest even when it hurts and that we must all respect one another.


As for the work ahead, the Barnes said she and her colleagues will work with the Leon Guerrero – Tenorio administration to re-energize the economy and reform the government

"We must make change our friend not our enemy, the work will not be easy but will require sacrifice for our sake, for the sake of our children and our children’s children,” she said. “Choices must be open and honest and subject to the bright light of scrutiny."

For the first time in Guam’s history the Legislature is comprised of mostly female senators.

“Through the years politics has been dominated by men, there is a need for women representation and that no one can advance women issues other than women themselves, Lou Leon Guerrero said that and she ran for Governor and won,”  Barnes said adding we have made history in doubling the number of female senators in the legislature. “We are joining the ranks of pioneers who have set the standard we must uphold.”

Some of the pioneers she cited included Cecilia Bamba, Elizabeth Arriola, Candelaria Rios, Agueda Johnston, Gloria Nelson, Ignacio Bordallo Butler, Maria Palomo Ada, former Speaker Judi Won Pat and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo.

She highlighted the fact that there are now three women in charge of all three branches of government before ending her speech.

“We are all on the same team, Team Guam and you are VIPS in my heart,” Barnes said.

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