Former Speaker Terlaje breaks silence on ousting - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Former Speaker Terlaje breaks silence on ousting

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The former speaker is speaking up and moving on after a controversial caucus left her out of the legislative leadership loop.  Sen. Therese Terlaje broke her silence today, saying the controversial Democratic caucus that resulted in her being ousted from legislative leadership was a hard pill to swallow.

Terlaje, the top senatorial vote-getter, lost her bid for speaker to returning Sen. Tina Muna Barnes.

"It's disappointing, it's absolutely disappointing," Terlaje said. "I was really hoping it would go my way."

The island has been buzzing about the Democratic caucus results - which were leaked late last year, but the official announcement came the Friday before the inauguration.

"I've been really blessed with a lot of encouragement," Terlaje said. "That no matter what - you just move forward and you do what you went in there to do and don't let anybody deter you from that - and that's really been my goal anyways."

In a Democratic Party release touting the selection of Muna Barnes as Speaker, Barnes said, "no one becomes speaker without the trust of their colleagues."

"What's important to me is that the people of Guam seem to trust me and I'm just going to go with that," Terlaje said.

And what of Speaker Barnes assertion that Terlaje moved out of the Guam Congress Hall because she wanted a bigger office?

"I don't recall ever saying that was the reason I moved out," Terlaje said.

The former acting speaker of the 34th Guam Legislature said her critical approach to senatorial work is something she takes seriously - but in some cases, that approach may have rubbed her colleagues the wrong way.

"I hope that they will just make their decisions moving forward based on merit, based on what the issue is in front of us, not personalities, not politics," she said. "That's really what I'm hoping for," Terlaje said.

"I tell them straight out what it is I'm thinking and what my opinions are on things, so they're not going to be blindsided and they know where I'm coming from," Terlaje said.

Terlaje was one of the few opposition voices at the close of the 34th, which saw a flurry of special interest bills hit the session floor.

"I don't like it if we prioritize special interests over things that have been plaguing the government for years - that's one of the reasons I ran," she said.

While Terlaje said she's been called an 'obstructionist' by her colleagues - she tells KUAM News that her supporters say, "Just do you."

"They seem to like that I ask questions and they seem to like that I'm not afraid to stand up for them - even if I'm alone," Terlaje said."And I feel very good about that."

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