GUAM VOTERS HAVE WIDE FIELD OF CHOICES

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40 candidates in race for legislative seats

By Dionesis Tamondong HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 8, 2010) – Guam voters will have a diverse group of legislative candidates to select from in the upcoming primaries.

Of the 40 potential candidates, about a dozen are new faces while at least 13 have run unsuccessfully in the past. There are 11 incumbents, mostly on the Democratic side.

The field of candidates includes six who are educators or former educators and at least 12 who are small business owners or are in the private sector. The slate of candidates also includes a chiropractor, a veterinarian, a journalist, a social worker, and two attorneys, one of whom is Douglas Moylan, the island's first elected attorney general.

Leaders from both political parties agree that the varied backgrounds of the potential candidates could bring different perspectives to the Legislature.

"I think the candidates are definitely reflective of our community, and that will benefit the public," said Guam Republican Party Chairman Jess Torres.

Democratic Party acting Chairman Jaime Paulino said a diverse group of lawmakers brings in different ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Among the new faces is Steven Dierking, president and co-founder of website development company iCON Corp.

Dierking, son of the late Sen. Herminia Dierking, said he decided to follow his mother's footsteps and help his island community, particularly in the field of technology.

"I'm looking at how we can use technology in our government, with my background in that," the Democratic hopeful said. "I want to work more with e-government and making online services more accessible throughout the government and connecting agencies with technology."

Armando Dominguez, who ran for senator 16 years ago, said one of his motives for running is to prove that even the average citizen can become a legislator.

The Republican from Asan holds a few jobs to make ends meet. He's a part-time taxi driver and security guard and was recently a Guam Census worker.

"I don't think you have to be rich to run and I want to show that the common man can make it to the Legislature," he said after turning in his candidate packet last week.

His concern over the pending military buildup was another reason for his decision to run.

"I want to make sure Guam gets its fair share, gets positive outcomes from the buildup," he said, adding that he's lived on Guam for more than 40 years after relocating from the Philippines.

Torres noted how the Republican Party has had trouble fielding a full slate of legislative candidates in past elections. In the 2008 Republican primary, there were 11 candidates for the 15 legislative spots.

This election, three Republican senators and one Democratic lawmaker are running in the race for Adelup.

Sen. Eddie Calvo is running with fellow lawmaker Ray Tenorio, and they will face off with Lt. Gov. Mike Cruz and Sen. James Espaldon in the Republican primary.

Democratic Sen. Frank Aguon is running with former Gov. Carl Gutierrez, who is seeking a third gubernatorial term.

If the Guam Election Commission certifies all 40 legislative candidates who met Tuesday's filing deadline, there will be 20 senatorial candidates for each party primary.

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