A Message to All Graduates

In the past weeks, I have been very moved to read about the World War II survivors who, in their twilight years, have received honorary diplomas because their education was disrupted by the wages of war. I’m moved because this is another chance for us to honor our manamko’, to remember their tireless efforts to be involved in our community, to learn about issues that matter and to teach us along the way…

Recently, I witnessed my oldest daughter graduate from college. This was truly a proud moment for me as a mom and I share in the pride all parents must feel as they commemorate the milestones in their children’s lives.

As we celebrate graduates of all ages, we should be reminded that such highpoints are a testament of our ability to work hard and see the successes of that hard work. A diploma is just the next step in one’s journey, a step toward greater things ahead.  Congratulations Graduates!

I commend you all on your accomplishments and extend my best wishes for a bright future!

BIBA Class of 2017!

Senator Therese M. Terlaje
Vice-Speaker, 34th Guam Legislature



Community Announcement: Shriners’ Outreach Clinic – July 20, & 24-28, 2017

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) would like to announce that a Medical Team from Shriners Hospitals for Children® from Honolulu, Hawaii will be conducting a Medical Outreach Clinic at the Central Public Health Medical Clinic in Mangilao, July 20, 2017 and July 24-28, 2017.  The Medical Team will be providing free consultative services for children up to age 17 with orthopedic conditions, burns, and spinal cord injuries. Children with diseases and/or injuries involving the bones, joints and muscles, as well as “healed burns,” including loss of any part of the child’s body, should make an appointment at DPHSS for an evaluation.  A referral from a physician is not required.  Patients will be seen by appointment only.  We cannot accept walk in patients.

Parents or legal guardians of new patients are required to complete a Shriners Hospital application and Medical Records form at Medical Social Services (MSS) at Central Public Health, Room 152. Required documents include a copy of the child’s birth certificate, immunization record, and medical insurance card; photo ID of parent or legal guardian, and if applicable, proof of legal guardianship papers.  Returning patients are reminded to provide x-ray films and/or laboratory results, as previously instructed.  Returning patients may call MSS to inquire if an x-ray order has to be picked up.

For an appointment and/or additional information, please contact Cherisse Santiago at 735-7351 orcherisse.santiago@dphss.guam.gov or Diana Santos at 735-7356 or diana.santos@dphss.guam.gov.

Vice Speaker Terlaje on the Override of Bill 58-34: Session Remarks, June 7, 2017

Buenas, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of the override on Bill 58-34 (COR).

I have been a senator for exactly 5 months today. In these 5 months, the news regarding the procurement protests on the procurement process for Simon Sanchez has appeared in the PDN approximately 10 times. We have had hearings on several new ideas to redo the Simon Sanchez procurement that according to the bills, will save money and save time. The following facts should be highlighted today:

Simon Sanchez has been in the news for unsafe conditions since 2010 – I commend the courageous advocacy of teachers, principals, students and parents for bringing this to public attention. The law authorizing the rebuilding of Simon Sanchez was passed in 2013 authorizing up to $101M for Simon Sanchez and the repair of other schools. This law delegated the Superintendent of DOE, the DPW Director, DLM, GEPA, and GEDA to be the decision making authority as to how the contractor would be selected, the time period that would be demanded of the contractor, the specifications that the new school would contain, and the cost of the new school.

In 2013, the Governor authorized new offices be built for DOE at the cost of $126.3M. $126.3M is more than the $101M reserved for rebuilding Simon Sanchez, planning, repairs and completion to all the schools combined. That office building is completed and is beautiful. I invite all public school teachers to drive past that building, and then to drive further and see Tiyan High School down the street. And then to look at your own schools, be it Southern High, Simon Sanchez, GW, or Tiyan or any of the numerous middle schools that were built in the 70s or 80s or even the 90s. I am a parent, and that simple visual and the millions of dollars involved makes me furious. Yesterday a teacher from Simon Sanchez testified that she had not had textbooks for 14 years. That her classroom size exceeded the authorized limits.

Well, I would like to send a message to every teacher in the public schools on Guam: the current system of waiting, of playing along, of believing that it cannot get better or that it is not up to you, must stop. It IS up to you. The system of leaving decisions that are affecting your classrooms and your students to the administration at GDOE must end. The government has not been able to alter that political balance between the needs of teachers and politics of administration despite years of revolving superintendents, law after law changing the composition of the boards or modifying the authority of the governor over education. Do not any longer be distracted or lulled into abdicating the power you as parents and principals and teachers wield.

In the case of the rebuilding of Simon Sanchez, I have implored the GDOE management to take a stand on the rebuilding of Simon Sanchez by a faster and more cost effective means, but have been told they will not look or comment on any other proposal. They will not take ownership of the current method either, have not yet given full input as to how the new school should function, claiming they do not have sole authority over the matter or the time is not right. This is exactly the response the community received when the million dollars for Tiyan DOE offices were agreed to. No one representing you at GDOE argued that the money should go instead to remedy your classroom safety issues, or go toward books, or go toward teacher salaries.   You teachers and principals must insist that you represent yourselves and insist that your input is heard by your own management team.

And I say to you parents that if the teachers are too overwhelmed to do this for you, then please do it for your children. Tell DOE enough is enough. We are having a budget hearing on GDOE on Friday, at 10 am. Everyone is welcome. I particularly invite all the principals and parents to get copies of the GDOE budgets and ask how much is going to be allocated to remedy what you have seen first hand is wrong with your child’s school. Why were the repairs to Simon Sanchez not begun yet when the citations were in the news since 2010, and the GDOE management estimates 18 more months of construction for the new school? Do not let the only voices in attendance at GDOE meetings or legislative budget hearings represent that new offices for GDOE central staff are the priority above safe schools.

You have rightfully criticized the legislature and governor for salary raises while school conditions remain unsafe. Do not accept that the government of Guam is incompetent at fixing your school or building a new school; that the DOE, DPW and other agencies learned nothing for the building of Adacao, Liguan, Okkodo, and JFK. Help us to overcome the politics involved in this multimillion dollar procurement. Together, we can speed up the completion of the new school, we can save millions and use that instead on books, the repair of other schools, bussing, or in the creation of college scholarships. We can force GDOE to focus on hard decisions and schools first. I support the solution provided in Bill 58 for the timely and cost efficient construction of Simon Sanchez, notwithstanding the governor’s veto. Thank you.



Vice Speaker Terlaje Seeks Just Compensation for Route 4 Families

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (June 6, 2017 – Hagåtña) –  Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje (D-Yoña), Chairperson for the Committee on Culture and Justice, is convening an Informational Briefing with the Office of the Attorney General this Thursday in order to determine the status of land condemnation and inverse condemnation cases, to include property taken by the government for Route 4.  Vice Speaker Terlaje is requesting that the Attorney General provide information as to the government’s compliance with Guam laws, which require for the relocation or repayment to landowners for properties taken for public use without compensation.

“For decades, many Guam residents have traveled Route 4 and benefited from the roadway access through the south of the island, but several families had to sacrifice their properties or have had their land occupied, damaged, or devalued for the roadway and bridges to exist. While only a fraction of those families has been able to receive reimbursements through legislative measures, the rest have been forced to take the government to court, or risk forfeiting their lands without just compensation,” the Vice Speaker stated.

Of particular concern, is a law passed in 1994 that gave landowners four (4) years to take action for inverse condemnation, including the taking of property for Route 4, thus diminishing the opportunities for families to pursue what is owed to them.

Expanding on the objective of these mandates, Senator Terlaje says, “We need to reconcile this long-standing conflict between the exercise of local governmental powers for the public benefit and the private property rights of our residents.”

The Informational Briefing with the Department of the Attorney General will take place on Thursday, June 8, 2017, beginning at 2:00 PM in I Liheslaturan Guåhan’s Public Hearing Room (Guam Congress Building, Hagåtña).

For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.

Families and Friends of Victims of Violent Crimes Provide Testimony on Bill No. 93-34: June 5, 2017

I extend my deepest gratitude and heartfelt sympathies to all of the families and friends of Melissa Quinata, Attorney Jan Rubenstein, and Hans Dela Cruz, and all of the other families of victims on violent crimes who have provided testimony on bill 93-34. I also wish to acknowledge all of the families for whom this may be too painful to deal with and I thank you also for continuing to persevere.   I also want to thank Attorney Anita Arriola, Former Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero, and Attorney Jan Rubenstein’s daughter for visiting me at my office when I was first elected and helping me to get this done. I also want to extend my gratitude to the Paulino Family.

This bill may not heal the pain of those who have had to live through these crimes, however these traumas change our laws and the way we practice law, and impact our community very directly.



FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (May 26, 2017 – Hagåtña) – On this date last year, Therese M. Terlaje officially announced that she would run for senator with one of her primary goals being to make the government of Guam more transparent and equip the people of Guam with knowledge and information so that they can make decisions, and be inspired to act on things that make sense for their families. Exactly one year later, Bill No. 71-34 (COR), introduced by Senator Therese Terlaje (D-Yoña), was passed by the Guam Legislature setting the effective date of an Executive Order to be midnight of the day it is transmitted to the Guam Legislature and to the Compiler of Laws, who is responsible for publishing legal evidence of the Executive Orders and all the laws of Guam.

Terlaje stated, “Prior to this legislation, there was no existing guarantee that the people of Guam would be notified of any of the Governor’s Executive Orders. In fact, none of the Executive Orders issued in 2017 were transmitted to the Legislature or to the Compiler of Laws, and none were published on the Governor’s or the government of Guam’s websites to date. The public should have immediate access to any vital information regarding changes in government operations, laws, and rules and regulations.”

Expanding on the objective of Bill No. 71-34 (COR) to improve government transparency, Senator Terlaje introduced three additional bills this month focused on increasing the public’s access to information on changes in agency fees for services, rules and regulations, and operational changes. Bill 91-34 (COR) is related to promoting affordable access to updated and searchable laws, rules and regulations, Executive Orders, Attorney General opinions, and court decisions. Bill 101-34 (LS) is relative to ensuring a public hearing is held prior to the adoption of any agency rules and regulations. Bill 102-34 (LS) is relative to increasing public awareness of the economic impact of rules and regulations.

“Once all the people of Guam can access all relevant information, our discussions will be more productive and the people of Guam will not be vulnerable to being fooled over and over. I think this is a huge task but crucial. I hope to gain the support of my colleagues to embrace the input of the people, and in turn to use the checks and balance of the legislative branch seriously as it was designed,” stated Terlaje.

For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.

Vice Speaker Urges Colleagues To Ask Difficult Questions About Climate Change

(Hagåtña – May 24, 2017) Lengthy discussion took place this afternoon, on Bill 79-34, which proposes to establish the Guam Council of Climate Change Preparedness and Resiliency. With the intent to further strengthen the bill, Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje introduced several amendments that would urge the Council to include as part of their duties, review of the impact of federal activities on the local environment. Specifically, as part of the Council’s mandate to “prioritize and focus policy recommendations on climate change resilience, ecosystem and biodiversity protection, waste management and pollution control and environmental governance,” Terlaje’s amendments proposed that the Climate Change Council review issues of military and federal activities including testing, detonations, and the removal of one thousand acres of limestone forest for the live-fire training range complex (LFTRC) at Northwest Field on Andersen Air Force Base.

While the amendments did not get the support to pass, Terlaje emphasized, “These are concrete environmental impacts that we can actually address and hopefully prevent today, including the removal of forests and direct destruction of coral reef, which promote sea level rise, coastal erosion and contamination of water resources. All of these are critical issues that are currently impacted by military and federal activities in Guam and the larger region.”

Terlaje asked her colleagues to respond to events that directly disturb the environment today and ultimately pose threats to the safety and strength of the island to survive the environmental hazards of global warming. She stated, “No one can afford to say this is someone else’s job. We have to be on the cutting edge. We cannot afford to be behind in the information as it becomes available. I am hoping that the Council’s recommendations are going to help the people of Guam immediately and not become just another report that is put on the shelf.”

For more information, please call the Office of Vice Speaker Therese M. Terlaje at (671) 472-3586.

Relay for Life 2017: May 26, 2017

Every year, our island comes together to remember those in our community who have lost their lives to cancer, celebrate our survivors, and support all of their families and caretakers. We share in their prayers, we cheer for each other, and we walk side by side in this journey for a cure.