Four incumbent senators and eight newcomers running for the 36th Legislature got the endorsement of a new political action committee that seeks a leaner government and a tax rollback, among other things.
Action PAC Inc. Executive Director Laura Dacanay on Thursday announced the group's support for 12 senatorial candidates – 10 Republicans and two Democrats.
The endorsement of mostly Republicans and only four incumbents out of 15 sitting senators, according to Dacanay, was a result of candidates' participation and responses to Action PAC's survey questionnaires.
"We were not picking on party lines. We did not look at party lines when we reviewed the packets. We just looked at the answers," she said.
Action PAC's 12 candidates of choice, in alphabetical order, are:
- Former Sen. Vicente "Tony" Ada, Republican
- John Ananich, Democrat
- Michelle Armenta, Republican
- Former Sen. Frank Blas Jr., Republican
- Vincent Borja, Republican
- Former Police Chief Joseph Cruz, Republican
- Former Sen. Chris Duenas, Republican
- Joaquin "Ken" Leon-Guerrero, Republican
- Sen. James Moylan, Republican
- Sen. Telo Taitague, Republican
- Sen. Therese Terlaje, Democrat
- Sen. Mary Torres, Republican
The selection was primarily based on whether the candidates support, or who have also been working toward, Action PAC's five key goals.
These include rolling back the business privilege tax from 5% to 4%; supporting a part-time Legislature; supporting the military buildup; reducing GovGuam's size; and improving government transparency.
There was no face-to-face interview or screening of the candidates, Dacanay said.
Sen. Therese Terlaje, the only incumbent Democrat on the list, thanked the committee "for recognizing my work for transparency in government and in support of small businesses on Guam."
"While very few people align wholly on sets of issues with any particular candidate, I appreciate that Action PAC Inc. recognizes that diversity in thought and values, while finding some common ground, can be good for the people of Guam," Terlaje said.
Ananich, a small business owner and the only newcomer Democrat on the list, said he's "honored" to be on the list. He said people may have come from different backgrounds but they can work together for a common goal for the community.
"We stand for all of the employees of Guam," Dacanay said. "We try to pull together as a community to effectuate change ... to help businesses come back."
The Democratic Party of Guam earlier said the survey was written in a leading manner.
Action PAC got a 50% response rate. Of those who responded, 73% are Republicans and 27% Democrats, Dacanay said.
Of the respondents, 73% are newcomers or challengers, and 27% are incumbents.
Hours after Action PAC's announcement, the Democratic Party of Guam hosted a virtual forum for its candidates.
The virtual forum, featuring senatorial and delegate candidates as well as state party leaders, was set to go live on the Democratic Party of Guam's Facebook page from 7 to 8 p.m. The forum continues at 7 p.m. tonight.
The Republican Party of Guam also hosted a series of virtual forums for its candidates, from Sept. 7 to 9. It was livestreamed on the party's Facebook page.