Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Governor of Guam
I Maga'låhi / Maga'håga Guåhan
Lou Leon Guerrero
since January 7, 2019
StyleThe Honorable (formal)
ResidenceGovernment House (Agaña Heights)
SeatRicardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex (Adelup)
Term lengthFour-year term, renewable once
Constituting instrumentOrganic Act of Guam
Inaugural holderCarlos Camacho
FormationJanuary 4, 1971
DeputyLieutenant Governor of Guam (Josh Tenorio)
Salary$90,000 (2013)[1]

The governor of Guam (Chamorro: I Maga'låhen / Maga'håga Guåhan) is the head of government of Guam and the commander-in-chief of the Guam National Guard, whose responsibilities also include making the annual State of the Island (formerly the State of the Territory) addresses to the Guam Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that Guam's public laws are enforced. The position was created in 1968, through the passage of the Guam Elected Governors Act which took effect in 1970. Guam elected its first civilian governor in 1970 with the inauguration of former governor Carlos Camacho.

The current governor is Lou Leon Guerrero, a Democrat who was inaugurated on January 7, 2019, following her election in 2018.

Powers and duties[edit]

The governor has a duty to enforce Guam's public laws, the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Guam Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to commute or grant pardons to criminal sentences, except in cases of treason and impeachment. The governor is given the power to control government budgeting and appoint many officials (including many judges).

Unlike the other government departments that compose the executive branch of government, the governor is themselves head of the state executive department. The governor may also perform ceremonial roles, such as greeting dignitaries, issuing symbolic proclamations or commencing the Liberation Day parade.

As the commander-in-chief of the Guam National Guard, the governor, as well as the president, may call on the Guard at a moment's notice to provide defense for the island, in a state of emergency.

The governor also delivers the annual State of the Island address (similar to the State of the State address in the US) to a special session of the Guam Legislature. The speech is given to satisfy a constitutional stipulation that a governor must report annually, or in older constitutions described as being "from time to time", on the state or condition of the territory.

Seat and residence[edit]

Sitting along Route 1, the governor's seat of power is located in Adelup in the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex, named after the island's 2nd and 4th governor, Ricardo Bordallo.

The governor lives in their official residence at the Government House in Agaña Heights. The island's former Spanish and American military governors had lived in the Governor's Palace in the Plaza de España (Hagåtña) until its destruction in the shelling of Hagåtña during the reconquest of Guam in World War II.

Election process[edit]


According to the Elective Governors Act:

"No person shall be eligible for election to the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor unless he/she is an eligible voter and has been for five consecutive years immediately preceding the election a citizen of the United States and a bona fide resident of Guam and will be, at the time of taking office, at least thirty years of age. The Governor shall maintain his/her official residence in Guam during his/her incumbency.[2]"

To be eligible, a candidate for Governor of Guam must:

  • an eligible voter of Guam
  • a United States citizen
  • at least thirty years of age.
  • has lived in Guam for five years, preceding the general election.


According to the Elective Governor Acts of 1968, the Governor of Guam, together with the Lieutenant Governor, shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast by the people who are qualified to vote for the members of the Legislature of Guam. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be chosen jointly, by the casting by each voter of a single vote applicable to both offices. The first election for Governor and Lieutenant Governor was held on November 3, 1970, with the election of Governor Carlos Camacho and Lt. Governor Kurt Moylan. Beginning in 1974, Guam's Governor and Lieutenant Governor is elected by direct vote, on the first Tuesday of November. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall hold office for a term of four years and until their successors are elected and qualified.


The Governor of Guam usually takes the oath of office on the first Monday of January. In past inaugurations, however, the governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect would take the oath of office past midnight on Monday morning.

Traditionally, the lieutenant governor-elect takes the oath first and delivers his inaugural remarks, followed then by the incoming governor-elect. As soon as the governor takes the oath of office, four ruffles and flourishes are played then followed by "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and a 21-gun salute. The newly inaugurated governor delivers his inaugural address, an opportunity for the new leader to state his goals for the next 4 years.

Oath of office[edit]

Pursuant to the Guam Organic Act, the governor's term of office begins at midnight on the first Monday of January of the year following the election. The day marks the beginning of the four-year term of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Guam. Before executing the powers as the Governor of Guam, the governor must take an oath of office:

I, (name), duly elected Governor of Guam, do solemnly swear, in the presence of the Almighty God, that I will well and faithfully support the Constitution of the United States, the laws of the United States applicable to Guam, and the laws of Guam, and that I will conscientiously and impartially discharge my duties as the Governor of Guam.

In line with traditional oath-takings, governors have traditionally palmed a Bible and have added, "So help me God!" at the end of their oaths. The Governor of Guam is sworn in by the Chief Justice of Guam.


Tenure and term limits[edit]

The Governor of Guam is only limited two terms as prescribed in the Elective Governors Act:

  • No person who has been elected Governor for two full successive terms shall again be eligible to hold that office until one full term has intervened.
  • The term of the elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall commence on the first Monday of January following the date of election.

However, a former governor can be re-elected once again only after a full term has passed.


Spanish era[edit]

In 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi formally declared Spanish sovereignty over the Mariana Islands. However, there was no permanent Spanish presence on the island and it was ruled from the Philippines as part of the Spanish East Indies by the Governor-General of the Philippines.[3]: 3  Diego Luis de San Vitores established a mission on Guam in 1668, but Francisco de Irrisari was the first person to take the title "Governor" in June 1676, amidst the Spanish-Chamorro Wars. Antonio de Saravia, who arrived in June 1681, was the first to receive his appointment as governor from the Spanish throne, meaning that, technically, he was no longer subordinate to rule from the Philippines or Mexico.

American capture of the territory (1898)[edit]

Image Name Term start Term end
Henry Glass, Admiral June 12, 1898 June 22, 1898
Francisco Martínez Portusach June 22, 1898 December 12, 1898

Political instability (1898–1899)[edit]

Image Name Term start Term end Notes
José Sisto December 12, 1898 December 31, 1898 overthrew Portusach
Venancio Roberto December 31, 1898 January 2, 1899 overthrew Sisto
José Sisto January 2, 1899 February 1, 1899 put back in power by US Navy
Edward D. Taussig February 1, 1899 February 13, 1899 re-asserted USN authority, put a local council in place
Don Joaquin Perez y Cruz February 13, 1899 April 20, 1899 local council
William Coe April 20, 1899 May 9, 1899 local council
Louis A. Kaiser May 9, 1899 August 7, 1899 local council

American Naval governors (1899–1941)[edit]

# Image Name Term start Term end
1 Richard Phillips Leary August 7, 1899 July 12, 1900
William Edwin Safford
June 12, 1900 July 19, 1900
2 Seaton Schroeder July 12, 1900 January 25, 1903
William Swift
January 25, 1903 February 6, 1903
3 William Elbridge Sewell February 6, 1903 May 16, 1904
Frank Herman Schofield
January 11, 1904 January 28, 1904
Raymond Stone
January 28, 1904 May 16, 1904
4 George Leland Dyer May 16, 1904 November 2, 1905
5 Luke McNamee November 2, 1905 December 3, 1906
6 Templin Morris Potts December 3, 1906 October 3, 1907
Luke McNamee
October 3, 1907 December 28, 1907
7 Edward John Dorn December 28, 1907 November 5, 1910
8 Frank Freyer November 5, 1910 January 21, 1911
9 George Salisbury January 21, 1911 January 30, 1912
10 Robert Edward Coontz January 30, 1912 September 23, 1913
11 Alfred Walton Hinds September 23, 1913 March 28, 1914
12 William John Maxwell March 28, 1914 April 29, 1916
William P. Cronan
April 29, 1916 May 18, 1916
Edward E. Simpson
May 18, 1916 May 30, 1916
13 Roy Campbell Smith May 30, 1916 November 18, 1918
14 William Gilmer November 18, 1918 November 22, 1919
William A. Hodgman November 22, 1919 December 21, 1919
15 William Gilmer December 21, 1919 July 7, 1920
16 Ivan Wettengel July 7, 1920 February 27, 1921
17 James Sutherland Spore February 27, 1921 February 7, 1922
Adelbert Althouse
February 7, 1922 December 8, 1922
John P. Miller
December 8, 1922 December 14, 1922
18 Adelbert Althouse December 14, 1922 August 4, 1923
19 Henry Bertram Price August 4, 1923 August 26, 1924
20 Alfred Winsor Brown August 26, 1924 August 7, 1926
23 Lloyd Stowell Shapley August 7, 1926 June 11, 1929
24 Willis W. Bradley June 11, 1929 March 15, 1931
25 Edmund Root March 15, 1931 June 21, 1933
26 George A. Alexander June 21, 1933 March 27, 1936
27 Benjamin McCandlish March 27, 1936 February 8, 1938
28 James Thomas Alexander February 8, 1938 April 20, 1940
29 George McMillin April 20, 1940 December 10, 1941

Japanese military governors (1941–1944)[edit]

Took office Left office
Tomitarō Horii
December 10, 1941 January 1942
Hayashi Hiromu January 1942 June 1942
Homura Teiichi June 1942 March 1944
Takeshi Takashina
March 1944 July 28, 1944
Hideyoshi Obata
July 28, 1944 August 11, 1944

American military governors (1944–1949)[edit]

Took office Left office
Roy Stanley Geiger
July 21, 1944 August 10, 1944
Henry Louis Larsen
August 10, 1944 May 30, 1946
Charles Alan Pownall
May 30, 1946 September 27, 1949

Appointed civilian governors (1949–1971)[edit]

# Governor
Took office Left office Appointed by Acting Governor
1   Carlton Skinner
September 17, 1949 April 22, 1953 Harry S. Truman Randall Herman
(February 20, 1953 – April 22, 1953)
2   Ford Quint Elvidge
April 23, 1953 October 2, 1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower William T. Corbett
(May 19, 1956 – October 2, 1956)
3   Richard Barrett Lowe
October 2, 1956 July 9, 1960 Marcellus Boss
(November 14, 1959 – August 22, 1960)
4   Joseph Flores
July 9, 1960 May 20, 1961
5   William Partlow Daniel
May 20, 1961 March 9, 1963 John F. Kennedy Manuel Flores Leon Guerrero
(January 20, 1963 – March 9, 1963)
6   Manuel F. Leon Guerrero (1914–1985) March 9, 1963 July 20, 1969
7   Carlos Camacho (1924–1979) July 20, 1969 January 4, 1971 Richard Nixon

Elected governors (1971–present)[edit]

  Democratic (4)       Republican (5)

Governor Served Party Elected Previous Office Lieutenant Governor
1   Carlos Camacho
January 4, 1971

January 6, 1975
(lost election)
Republican 1970 Appointed Governor of Guam   Kurt S. Moylan
2   Ricardo Bordallo
January 6, 1975

January 1, 1979
(lost election)
Democratic 1974 Senator of the Guam Legislature   Rudolph G. Sablan
3   Paul McDonald Calvo
January 1, 1979

January 3, 1983
(lost election)
Republican 1978 Senator of the Guam Legislature   Joseph F. Ada
4   Ricardo Bordallo
January 3, 1983

January 5, 1987
(lost election)
Democratic 1982 Senator of the Guam Legislature   Edward Diego Reyes
5   Joseph F. Ada
January 3, 1987

January 2, 1995
(lost election)
Republican 1986
Lieutenant Governor of Guam   Frank F. Blas
6   Carl T.C. Gutierrez
January 2, 1995

January 6, 2003
(lost re-nomination)
Democratic 1994
Senator of the Guam Legislature   Madeleine Bordallo
7   Felix J. Perez Camacho
January 6, 2003

January 3, 2011
(term limited)
Republican 2002
Senator of the Guam Legislature   Kaleo Moylan
  Michael Cruz
8   Eddie J. Baza Calvo
January 3, 2011

January 7, 2019
(term limited)
Republican 2010
Senator of the Guam Legislature   Ray Tenorio
9   Lou Leon Guerrero
January 7, 2019

Democratic 2018
Senator of the Guam Legislature   Josh Tenorio

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "48 U.S. Code § 1422 - Governor and Lieutenant Governor; term of office; qualifications; powers and duties; annual report to Congress".
  3. ^ Hezel, Francis X. (2015). When cultures clash: revisiting the 'Spanish-Chamorro Wars'. Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam. ISBN 978-1-935198-04-8. Retrieved 19 June 2020.

External links[edit]