Sen. Lourdes A. “Lou” Leon Guerrero will take on the position vacated by the passing of her brother Anthony A. Leon Guerrero on Oct. 19 effective March 31 2006 although she will fulfill her term as senator.

Leon Guerrero told the Journal she would prepare for the new position to a certain degree.

“There is some advance learning that I’d like to do before I go in there going around and meeting the staff and getting a feel for the operations.” She said she was familiar with aspects of the bank’s operations. “I’ve been chairing board meetings for two years and I’ve been a board member for a long time but like any good CEO I want to know the caliber of my people.” Leon Guerrero served as a vice chair of the board since September 2002 rising to acting board chairman and acting chair of the executive and loan committees at the bank. She also served as a member o fthe bank’s board from 1991 to 1998. She has served as a senator for about 12 years and made one unsuccessful attempt as part of a gubernatorial team with Sen. Tom Ada. She will keep a diving line between the end of her career as senator and her entry into the world of banking. “I wanted to make sure that there’s a clean separation and my roles wouldn’t be mixed or confused.” Leon Guerrero said although there was no law forbidding her to work in the private sector and also continue as senator — as some senatorial colleagues have done — she decided to leave the legislature. “I wanted to make sure that opportunities for negative criticism was minimized as much as possible in both roles.”

Leon Guerrero said apart from the passing of anti-smoking legislation she was hoping that Bill 106 which would raise hotel occupancy tax from 11% to 13% and redirect funds to island beautification and cleaning of public restrooms would pass while she remained in office. “It’s in the interests of tourism; how can we improve visitor arrivals? Why can’t we get the funding to beautify and maintain our public restrooms? In order to make money you have to spend money — that’s a very business-oriented concept don’t you think?”

The anti-smoking legislation had not been anti-business she said. “GHRA [the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association] and I were together on that.” When I talked about the smoking bill I didn’t think it was a business issue.” Leon Guerrero said that while the act will prohibit smoking in restaurants and limit smoking in bars (See Newsbriefs on Page 21) outdoor facilities such as the Tree Bar at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa and the exterior of Mac and Marty’s would be able to remain as smoking venues. “I did not address open spaces. … I didn’t even mention it. When I was in San Francisco some of the restaurants had tables outside … there was a lot of smoking outside.”

Leon Guerrero told the Journal in an earlier conversation that her father Jesus Leon Guerrero founder of the bank had always wanted her to join the bank’s fulltime team. The Leon Guerrero family is the majority shareholder of Bank of Guam which showed revenues of $44.97 million in the 2004 Guam Business-Deloitte & Touche list of the Top 50 businesses in Micronesia. The bank employs almost 400 people.

The senator said she believes she will not have difficulties as a member of the business community. “I know we have arguments and debates. I think they always know what my position is. I support my position and I argue and defend my position; I think they know my character is such that I’m up-front with them. They know that I do my work; they know that the quality of work is good.”

She took a holistic view of positions. “We do not have to be opposing forces. What is good for the business community is also good for the people. What is good for government and public policy is also good for the people. What I do as a chairman of the board and board member is in the best interests of the public —with a financial institution it’s to benefit the business and to benefit the public.”

Other members of the Bank of Guam’s management team include William Leon Guerrero executive vice president and chief operating officer; Frank M. Atalig vice president and chief financial officer; Joyce B. Miyashita vice president and credit administrator; Josephine L. Marianas vice president and branch and central operations administrator Danilo M. Rapadas vice president and legal counsel and compliance officer Jacqueline A. Marati vice president and human resources and marketing administrator; Ernest P. Villaverde vice president and information management systems administrator; Joseph P. Bradley vice president and trust and economic and market statistics officer; and Josephine L. Blas vice president and general auditor.

With the departure of Leon Guerrero at the end of the 28th Guam Legislature seven senatorial seats will likely become vacant.

Senators who have confirmed or who are expected to run for high office include:

• Sen. Benjamin F. Cruz who will join former governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez as candidate for lieutenant governor;

• Sen. Edward J.B. Calvo chairman of the Committee on Finance Taxation and Commerce is also expected to make a second try for office as a member of a gubernatorial team;

• Sen. Mark Forbes speaker who is rumored to be Calvo’s team partner;

• Sen. Mike Cruz chairman of the Committee on Health & Human Services who is said to be joining Gov. Felix P. Camacho in the governor’s second term bid;

• Sen. Frank B. Aguon Jr. whose name has been associated with the gubernatorial campaign of Robert A. Underwood Guam’s former delegate to Congress. MBJ