Pacific Daily News

HAGATNA, Guam (Nov. 4) – In this year's legislative election, Guam's voters sent a clear message: They weren't happy with the way things were being done. A full third of incumbents -- five Democrats -- lost their seats and three first-time candidates were elected to office. Also, some of those who were used to being popularly supported barely made the cut.

Dr. Mike Cruz's selection, coupled with Sen. Lou Leon Guerrero's drop (from fifth top vote-getter in 2002 to 14th this year), may be a message from the electorate that they are very displeased with the status of health care on Guam and want a change for the better.

The strong showing of Sen. Robert Klitzkie, who got the seventh-most votes, and the election of Adolpho Palacios is an indication that Guam's voters take fiscal accountability and frugal spending very seriously. They want to see their tax money used well and not wasted. Klitzkie rode his spending record to re-election, while Palacios has promised to give away his senatorial salary to charity.

Residents' concerns over the state of public safety on Guam were also reflected in election results: Top vote-getter Sen. Ray Tenorio is a former police officer; Benjamin J. Cruz is a former judge and chief justice; Palacios is a former police captain and chief marshal; and Klitzkie is a former Department of Corrections director and police legal counsel.

Now, those elected to the 28th Guam Legislature need to pay very close attention to the messages sent by the electorate. They must work diligently to address the issues of concern to this community. If they fail to do so, they will most certainly find themselves looking for a new line of work in two years.

This election also demonstrated the power of each person's vote. When it came down to who made the cut for the Legislature, the difference in whether a candidate made it came down to a small number of votes. And in village mayoral races, several were decided by less than 50 votes, including a 10-vote margin in Piti.

This election was an affirmation of the importance of voting. It clearly showed the voting public that their voices do matter, and hopefully will lead to an even stronger voter turnout in future elections.

November 4, 2004

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