The fallout continues for Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and her campaign as blacklisted democrats begin calling out what appear to more voters as petty tactics by the faction of the party promoting her at the expense of others.
Speaker Therese Terlaje, one of the 12 democrats crossed out on a sample ballot promoted by ex-Democratic Party of Guam attorney Vanessa Williams, questioned the sincerity of the effort and said in a statement that she will not be silenced into towing anyone’s political agenda.
Ms. Terlaje, the top vote-getter in the last senatorial election, is seeking reelection. The popular speaker has been the maverick of the legislature, often calling out Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and her administration on matters of fiscal and health policy. Over the weekend, Ms. Williams began promoting a sample ballot that had Terlaje and 11 other democrat candidates’s names crossed out.
Ms. Williams, who resigned as party attorney in the wake of the political fallout, attributed her sample ballot to her personal stance in support of pro-choice candidates. Ms. Terlaje drew the ire of pro-abortion advocates, when as chairwoman of the legislature’s health committee she called public hearings on Bill No. 291. The legislation, which she did not author, is the Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022, a measure that would allow residents to sue anyone who provides or otherwise assist with the procurement of an abortion on Guam after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Ms. Terlaje had some choice words for anyone behind the effort to blacklist her and other democrats. Here is her full statement on the matter:
“I can only guess from letters I have received that my name was crossed off this individual’s ballot because I held an official public hearing on Bill 291 instead of a roundtable or holding the bill in silence, as they wanted. I refuse silence.
“It’s because of the hearing that I had on Bill 291 that those opposed to the bill can now say that the overwhelming majority of those testifying were against Bill 291. There is a record, and the public was able to be heard. They should use that to gain the support of senators for their side instead of alienating them. I think it’s not strategic on their part to presumptuously assume senators’ and candidates’ positions and or broadly categorize them as socially conservative or other labels when this is a long-term, complex issue with variations of bills and laws we must deal with based on the specifics of each one.
“The public knows that I did not sponsor B291 and was not responsible for another senator referring it to my committee like a hot potato within hours of receipt and without any review. Other bills like the one for tax rebates were not referred so quickly. The referring senator’s name was not crossed off the sample ballot.
“The community can see for itself the work that I have done throughout my life in support of women and children, against sexual abuse, against potential medical negligence, and to take care of the poor, and those suffering from toxic exposure.
“I will continue to create a forum for the truth to be told and the public to be heard. I have always trusted that when the government is open and transparent, all women and the community are capable of discerning the truth for themselves and making their own choices of who to vote for, even despite party officials’ bias or missteps.”