Republican majority taps Brown as vice-speaker, Calvo as legislative secretary
by Ken Wetmore, KUAM News
GOP'ers have already announced they will be unanimously voting to select Senator Mark Forbes as the Speaker. Today the speaker-select announced the Republican majority has unanimously selected Senator Joanne Brown to be the vice-speaker of the 28th Legislature. Senator Ray Tenorio said the decision was based on finding someone with institutional knowledge who would be able to step into the speakership, if necessary.
Said Senator Tenorio, "I think, of course, Joanne has exhibited internal fortitude, great intelligence, significant amount of charisma and I think its important for us to be able to deal with our colleagues in the minority and in the majority, and also the public on an equal footing but more importantly that she has the capacity to do the job of speaker."
Incumbent senator Robert Klitzkie said Senator Brown's three-vote victory over Speaker Ben Pangelinan for the 15th spot in the forthcoming legislature was not seen as a negative by other Republicans with higher vote totals. "A member's a member," he said succinctly. "Everyone who's elected is on a equal footing with all members, so Senator Brown was chosen because people thought she was the best man for the job - the best man for the job was a woman."
Senator Brown says she appreciates her Republican colleagues' choice to select her as vice-speaker. She said in reaction to the news, "I'm very excited. I'm thankful for the opportunity certainly as a senior member of the Legislature now, and at the same time I think this is a wonderful statement our group is making for women in our community. It's been quite a number of years since the Guam Legislature has had a woman vice-speaker and I certainly look forward to the opportunity to work with all my colleagues, including the minority in the upcoming Guam Legislature."
The incoming Republican majority also announced senator-elect Eddie Baza Calvo as Legislative Secretary. "I've been more of operational end of things in the private sector and I'm excited again about being in the Legislature and doing some day-to-day work, so aside from the privilege of serving as secretary of the Legislature, I want to thank my colleagues here," said the senator-elect. "I look forward to other functions in the Legislature as well, I'm excited to be back, we got a great group of senators that are joining me in this majority and I'm looking forward to working with our minority Senators as well."
Speaker-select Forbes says that the incoming Republican leadership realizes insurance will be one of the major topics the 28th Legislature will have to deal with immediately. He explained, "This entire issue having to do with health insurance for public employees for private employees for the people of Guam in general and just the general affordability of healthcare. That's going to have to be a very major focus for the 28th Guam Legislature."
Forbes said he and his colleagues are still working on further offices such as majority leader and also haven't finalized on committee assignments. He says because several Republicans will be off-island in the next week it will be several weeks before the GOP finalizes and announces its further selections for officers and committee assignments.
Republican senator-elect Dr. Mike Cruz wasn't present at today's announcement. Republicans say he was at the meeting to select the vice-speaker and secretary but had to leave before the announcement because he was called into surgery.
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