Sabrina Salas Matanane running for senator

Joann Camacho embraces Sabrina Salas Matanane at the 2022 Lincoln Dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Guam

One of the most familiar faces and names in the contemporary history of Guam is running for the legislature in 2024. Sabrina Salas Matanane today signed out for a nominating packet. She is running as a republican.

Ms. Matanane left the comfort of her three-decades long career in broadcast journalism in mid-2022 after then-Congressman Michael San Nicolas asked her to be his running mate in their failed bid for Adelup against fellow democratic team of Lou Leon Guerrero and Joshua Tenorio.

At the time, the admittedly-frightened lieutenant governor candidate – who had never run for public office – said she accepted Mr. San Nicolas’ invitation to run with him after just reviewing documents showing the Leon Guerrero administration was stashing $320 million in federal pandemic money in the bank the governor owns while so many people were suffering.

“Why aren’t we putting that money out to help people?” she questioned during their gubernatorial announcement.

She accused the Leon Guerrero Administration of using these federal funds her running mate secured for the people of Guam as a form of political bribe in 2022, rather than using the money on programs that provide meaningful help to struggling families.

The administration ended up doling out tens of millions of dollars in election year giveaways, and used hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds to advertise those giveaways with the images of Leon Guerrero and Tenorio.

Michael San Nicolas, Sabrina Salas Matanane, Frank Matanane, and Tyler Matanane following San Nicolas and Salas Matanane’s April 19, 2022 announcement of their bid for Adelup.

“Somebody has to step up,” she told the press corps she was a member of only the day before that April 2022 announcement. “Somebody has to stand up for the people of Guam. I’m ready. I’m really ready to make a difference.”

The San Nicolas-Salas Matanane ticket lost to the incumbents in the primary election. Since then, Ms. Matanane has worked as an executive for a federal defense contractor. And her time back in the private sector has only strengthened her resolve to help usher in an era of change in the government.

“After much thought and encouragement by so many of you in the community, I am running for a seat in the 38th Guam Legislature,” she told Kandit. The reason?

“Too many people are in need of help and too many of our leaders are talking and not leading. Let’s change this together,” she said, appealing to voters to choose her in the August primary election and then, if she makes the cut, the November 5 general election.

Ms. Matanane has been critical of the politics that have stymied the development of Simon Sanchez High School and a new hospital. She also has raised awareness about the problem of growing poverty which contrasts the administration’s continuous claims of improved livelihoods.

Those claims are made against the backdrop of worsening living conditions for thousands of Guamanians, many of whom live in Yigo, where Ms. Matanane resides.

While having never served in elected office, Ms. Matanane is no stranger to politics and the world of government and the waste and corruption it has bred for decades. It was her job since 1996 to investigate the goings-on of a government that has grown into a more-than-$1 billion enterprise.

It is a business model that has thrived on a higher tax burden and aloof to the struggles it has imposed on its citizens, all so it can afford the droves of political hires, and the billions in contracts let out to cronies over the past decades.

Ms. Matanane, for the bulk of this period, led the news team that often found the corruption and brought those stories into our homes on the KUAM 6 o’clock nightly news. Her leadership as news director, and her work to expose corruption and other crime led to multiple awards, including her award from the Micronesia Society of Professional Journalists as 2002 Journalist of the Year.

It was through her vision and under her direction that KUAM’s expanded its business products and transitioned into the digital age. Many of the programs at the station today were created under her watch.

Her long career at the helm of KUAM News followed her work at the former Guam Cable News and for its affiliate, Saipan Cable News. During the late 1990s, among Ms. Matanane’s notable works included her coverage of the several major storms of that decade, the Korean Airlines Flight 801 crash, the demise of the garment factories in Saipan, and the situation on the ground with the Kurdish refugees.

She originally is from Hagat, the daughter of the late Noberto Aguigui Salas and the late Lolita Palomo Abelon Salas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Electronic Journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 1994 then returned to Guam to begin working.



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