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The Contemporary Pacific 15.1 (2003) 150-162



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Guam

Anne Perez Hattori
Division of Humanistic Studies, University of Guam


Spiraling economic, social, and political crises occupied Guam headlines during the year, while campaigns for upcoming gubernatorial, senatorial, and congressional elections sought to offer solutions and rekindle the optimistic spirit of disillusioned island residents. Dropping income levels, rising unemployment rates, increased bankruptcy numbers, and other economic troubles plagued the island, as did mounting allegations of government corruption and mismanagement.

Finding answers to a laundry list of problems consumed the four teams in the running for the governorship with primary elections scheduled for September 2002 and general elections for November. On the Democratic Party slate, with lame duck Governor Carl T C Gutierrez ineligible for reelection due to term-limit regulations, his wife, Geri Gutierrez, geared up to take his place. After months of searching for a running mate, Geri teamed up with retired army general Benny Paulino. Basing their campaign on the slogan "Faith and Trust," the Gutierrez-Paulino team essentially positioned themselves as the incumbents. In the primary election they are running against the team of Robert Underwood and Tom Ada. Underwood, as Guam's five-term delegate to the US Congress and a former professor and administrator at the University of Guam, and Ada, a popular senator in the Guam Legislature and himself a retired army colonel, brought long résumés of public, private, and military service to their ticket. Espousing the slogan "Rebuilding Guam. Dinuebu!" both Underwood and Ada have been extraordinarily high vote-getters in recent elections; Underwood won his last congressional race with 78 percent of the vote and Ada placed first among fifteen senators for the third time.

On the Republican slate, a race between two teams of four senators in the Guam Legislature is expected to be tight. Long-time senator and current Speaker of the Guam Legislature Tony Unpingco partnered with senatorial colleague Eddie Calvo, son of former Governor Paul Calvo. Focusing their campaign on a call for honesty, accountability, and effective management, the Unpingco-Calvo team has made government reform a major issue. They will challenge a pair of senators whose fathers also occupied the seats to which they now aspire. Senators Felix Camacho and Kaleo Moylan are running as a team as did their fathers, former Governor Carlos Camacho and former Lieutenant Governor Kurt Moylan, using the slogan "There is Hope" to fuel their aspirations.

Running to fill the seat of the US delegate to Congress vacated by the gubernatorial-candidate Underwood [End Page 150] are two Democratic candidates, current Lieutenant Governor Madeleine Bordallo and Senator Judy Won Pat; on the Republican ticket is former governor and current Senator Joseph Ada. The effects of Typhoon Chatha'an, a July storm that resulted in a federal disaster declaration for Guam, coupled with the island's severe economic crisis, forced the various candidates to rely on means other than costly media campaigns to inform and rally their supporters. In light of the financial problems facing much of the island population, few of the Gutierrez-style $500 and $1,000 political fundraisers were held; instead, the old-fashioned, grassroots style campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s returned, with almost nightly village meetings, pocket meetings, and rallies.

Despite retreating to the campaign styles of previous decades, politicians confronted vastly different demographic conditions than their political forerunners faced. In February 2002, the US Census Bureau finally released the official results of the 2000 census, attributing delays to the bureau's need to reprocess all of its data sets for Guam and adjust its data for undercounts. According to the census, Guam's population in 2000 was 154,805, only slightly more than the total reported for 1990. Ethnically, the census showed the indigenous Chamorro population at 37 percent, 6 percent less than in the previous census. The ethnic group with the largest gains in the 2000 census was the growing Filipino community, which at 26.3 percent showed a 4 percent increase relative to the total island population and a 35.6 percent increase since the 1990 census. The village of Dededo...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. 150-162
Launched on MUSE
2003-02-10
Open Access
No
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