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The Battle for Speaker (Guam) ROUND 2: Vice Speaker Telena Nelson

Editor's note: This is the second in a multi-round series about the election for the next speaker of the Guam Legislature. The selection process normally is conducted behind the closed doors of party caucuses. Kandit is trying to shine the light on this dark, archaic process.

Click here to see Round 1: Sen. Clynt Ridgell

By Nancy I. Maanao

So far, no Democrats are publicly saying who they will vote for in the Democratic election for speaker of the 36th Guam Legislature.

Vice Speaker Telena Nelson, who is on active duty with the Guam National Guard right now, says unity and collegiality among the incoming legislators is what is needed beyond the selection of the next speaker.

Democrats will be meeting soon behind closed doors to decide who among them will by the speaker of the 36th Guam Legislature. Kandit has asked all eight Democratic senators who they will be voting for between current Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and crowd favorite Sen. Therese Terlaje.

Democratic Sen. Joe San Agustin is emerging as a dark horse candidate for speaker.

Voters at the General Election reduced the Democratic majority from 10 senators to eight, all of them incumbents. They include Muna Barnes, Terlaje, San Agustin, Nelson, Jose "Pedo" Terlaje, Sabina Perez, Clynt Ridgell, and Amanda Shelton.

Sen. Therese Terlaje received, by far, the highest number of votes in the election... again.

Ms. Terlaje vied for speaker in the current legislature, but was muscled out by Ms. Muna Barnes within the closed-door confines of Democratic caucus in December 2018. Kandit is trying to draw answers out from Democrats now. Political pundits agree the race is back between the two to lead Guam's first and most powerful branch of the government.

We messaged all eight re-elected Democratic lawmakers: Kandit's viewers will like to know for whom each of you will cast your vote for Speaker of the 36th Guam Legislature in the race between Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Sen. Therese Terlaje.

"There has been no discussion on this at this time, but we look forward to working together with those elected to the 36th Guam Legislature in the spirit of unity our people expect and need to relieve their suffering." - Vice Speaker Telena Nelson

There may be a wrinkle in the Democrats's plans, though. Republicans now have a strong minority of seven senators in the next legislature. All it will take is for one Democrat senator to align with the GOP in order to switch the majority.

Incoming Republican Sen. Joanne Brown is offering Democrats her vote for speaker in return for making her the chairwoman of the committee having oversight of the seaport authority.

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