Pacific News Minute: Year of the Woman in Guam

Nov 8, 2018

Guam Governor-elect Lourdes Guerrero
Credit Mr.agf671 / Wikimedia Commons

This year’s midterm elections justified pre-poll hype as the year of the woman. A record number of female candidates have been elected to the House of Representatives and at least nine won their races for governor.

Voters made history in Guam on Tuesday, electing the territory’s first female governor, and women will make up a majority of the legislature. Senator Regine Biscoe Lee, chair of the Democratic Party in Guam noted that this will be the first female majority legislature anywhere in the United States. She told The Guam Daily Post, “I’m just so proud and humbled and excited to be part of it.”

It was also a great day for Democrats. Lou Leon Guerrero defeated two rivals and finished with more than 50 percent of the vote. She will be the first Democratic governor of Guam since 2002. And Democrats won 10 of the 15 seats in the legislature, a veto-proof super majority.

Voting in the neighboring Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas was postponed a week, as the islands struggle in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu.

Gregorio Kilili Sablan
Credit U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Early voting is underway, and Gregorio Kilili Sablan, CNMI’s delegate to Congress, told RNZ Pacific that he’s received reports of voter intimidation. Some government workers were being asked to take cell phone photos of their ballots to prove that they voted ‘correctly.’ And told if they refused, they were at risk of losing their jobs. He asked anyone who feels that they’ve been threatened to contact him or the police.

Last weekend, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland and its attachment of U.S. Marines arrived in the Northern Marianas to help with recovery. They’re delivering water, fuel, tents, generators, air conditioning units and heavy equipment to remove debris.