[Congressional Record Volume 147, Number 30 (Thursday, March 8, 2001)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E326-E328]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            JOHNSTON TORRES


                        HON. ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD

                                of guam

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 8, 2001

  Mr. UNDERWOOD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of March as 
Women's History Month and March 8 as International Women's Day. I would 
also like to honor the late Honorable Cynthia Johnston Torres, a 
distinguished member of the Third Guam Legislature.
  Women's History Month is a time to pay tribute to the women of our 
nation, in appreciation for their contributions to the political, 
social, economic, and cultural development of our country, in 
recognition of the many struggles and obstacles that they face, and in 
honor of the integral role that women have played in American history. 
Women make up over half of our country's population, or about 139 
million in 1999, and have changed our nation in positive ways. Women 
have made their mark in various fields such as science, business, 
education, health, the public sector, the arts, entertainment, and the 
list goes on.
  The progress of women today must be considered in conjunction with 
continuing challenges. Today women affect and are affected by the major 
issues on our nation's agenda, including health care, Social Security, 
Medicare, tax reform, etc. Most recently, ergonomics issues are 
impacting women, who represent 64 percent of repetitive motion injuries 
that result in lost work time. It is encouraging that six in ten women 
participate in the labor force, however employment discrimination and 
unequal pay still exist. The future looks promising as women are 
demonstrating increased participation in all levels and branches of 
government. Unfortunately, expectations still exist about their 
``traditional'' roles.
  Today, women are marrying at later ages, yet domestic and family 
violence continues throughout the country. Also across the nation, 
women's studies and gender studies are on the rise in higher education 
institutions, however women still need to be acknowledged as critical 
players in the history of America. Today I would like the opportunity 
to recognize the achievements of women amidst such challenges, 
challenges that our entire nation must face from within the fifty 
states to the five territories.
  Women's History Month has its own history that illustrates the gains 
women have accomplished in the last century. In order to reflect on 
international connections among women,

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some European nations have been celebrating International Women's Day 
on March 8 since 1911. Following women's suffrage in 1920 and the 
valuable contributions made by women to the war industries during the 
1940's, women's issues were pushed to the forefront during the 1960's. 
The history of women was finally acknowledged in schools during the 
1970s, and in 1981, the National Women's History Project spearheaded 
the initiative for National Women's History Week. The U.S. Congress 
passed a resolution in recognition of this week, and in 1987, the week 
was expanded to National Women's History Month. In keeping with the 
  My district of Guam proudly takes part in celebrating Women's History 
Month. The Bureau of Women's Affairs holds events recognizing women's 
accomplishments, addressing women's issues, and empowering women to be 
the best that they can be. The theme for 2001 is ``Celebrating Women of 
Courage and Vision,'' and there will be a proclamation signing not only 
for Women's History Month but also for the Year of the Family.
  Today, the spirit of community in Guam was alive and well, as the 
Bureau of Women's Affairs and the Guam Council of Women's Club 
celebrated International Women's Day. In an event involving the 
participation of various women's clubs and organizations from the 
government of Guam and the private sector, organizations learned more 
about each other and shared information while cultural delicacies and 
artwork of Guam were showcased for all to see.
  The children of Guam are also active during Women's History month, as 
they participate in a poster and essay competition in promotion of this 
year's theme ``Celebrating Women of Courage and Vision.'' Elementary 
school children submit posters, and middle school and high school 
students enter essays, all of which are displayed at the Center Court 
at Micronesian Mall. Such an event raises early awareness on women's 
issues and fosters early recognition of women's contributions to Guam.
  Finally, at the end of the month, the outstanding women of Guam for 
the year 2000 will be honored at the 7th Annual Awards Banquet at the 
Guam Marriott Resort. Winners from the categories of non-traditional 
role; grandmother; GovGuam/Federal (civil service); mother; community 
(local/military); and private sector will be announced. The influx of 
nominations illustrates that indeed the island embraces women of 
courage and vision.
  Although this year's award recipients have not yet been named, the 
numerous women before them can again be recognized for paving the way 
in demonstrating leadership skills and commitment to our community and 
to our nation. For example, women in the public sector in Guam have 
made great strides over the past half century. They continue to be role 
models for our youth while encouraging political participation for all 
of the people of Guam.
  In the Executive Branch, Lieutenant Governor Madeleine Bordallo holds 
the highest position held by a women in Guam, and she currently serves 
her second term at this important post. There are 11 out of 60 female 
heads of agencies, including Andrea Finona of the Guam passport Office; 
Sheila Torres of the Agency for Human Resources and Development; 
Jeanette R. Yamashita of the Chamorro Affairs Department; Isabel Lujan 
of the Department of Commerce, Rosie R. Tainatongo of the Department of 
Education; Deborah J. Bordallo of the Guam Council on the Arts and 
Humanities; Geraldine ``Ginger'' S. Underwood of the Guam Educational 
Telecommunication Corporation, KGTF; Taling Taitano of the Guam Housing 
and Urban Renewal Authority; Dr. Davina Lujan of the Guam Memorial 
Hospital; Thelma Ann Perez of the Guam Power Authority; and Christine 
K. Scott-Smith of the Guam Public Library.
  In addition, 6 out of 40 deputy directors are women. They are: 
Rosanna San Miguel of the Agency for Human Resources and Development; 
Tina Muna-Barnes of the Department of Integrated Services for 
Individuals with Disabilities; Jamema G. Maravilla of the Guam Energy 
Office; Cil P. Orot of the Guam Public Library; Theresa R. Cruz of the 
Guam Visitors Bureau; and Aurora F. Cabanero of the Mental Health and 
Substance Abuse Agency.
  While others have served in acting capacities, Lourdes T. Pangelian 
is the only woman who has served as the permanent Chief of Staff for 
the Governor of Guam. Another noteworthy woman is Doris Flores Brooks, 
a former Senator in the Guam Legislature who is the first woman to be 
elected as Public Auditor.
  As you can see, political representation by women is encouraged on 
Guam. Guam law requires all Government of Guam boards and commissions 
to maintain at least two female members. Several key boards have female 
chairpersons, such as former Senator Pilar Cruz Lujan at the Guam 
Airport Authority; Lillian Opena at the Guam Council of Youth Affairs; 
Dr. Heidi San Nicolas at the Guam Development Disabilities Council; 
Miriam S. Gallet at the Guam Environmental Protection Board of 
Directors; Corina G. Ludwig at the Guam Mass Transit; Ann Muna at the 
Guam Memorial Hospital; Bernadita Quitugua at the Guam Museum; and 
Arlene P. Bordallo at the Port Authority of Guam Board of Directors.
  Women's participation in the Legislative Branch has also increased 
over the years. The first elected female to public office was Rosa T. 
Aguigui of Merizo, who was elected to the Guam Congress in 1946. Since 
1986, women represented nearly \1/3\ of the membership of the Guam 
Legislature. Female membership was at its peak in 1990 seven women were 
elected to serve in the 22nd Guam Legislature, which consisted of 21 
members. During three separate years, women were the highest vote-
getters for a legislative campaign: in 1986, Marilyn D.A. Manibusan had 
the most votes, in 1988, it was Madeleine Z. Bordallo; and in 1990, 
Doris Flores Brooks captured the largest number of votes. Female 
legislators that have held the highest offices are Vice Speaker 
Katherine B. Aguon; Legislative Secretaries Pilar C. Lujan, Elizabeth 
Arriola, Judith Won Pat-Borja, and Joanne Brown; and Rules Committee 
Chairperson Herminia Dierking.
  In 1954, Largimas Leon Guerrero Untalan and Cynthia Johnston Torres 
were the first women to be elected to the Guam Legislature. Currently, 
3 out of the 15 Members are women: Senator Joanne M.S. Brown, who is 
Legislative Secretary and Chairperson of the Committee on Natural 
Resources; Senator Lou A. Leon Guerrero, who is the Assistant Minority 
Leader; and Senator Judith ``Judy'' T. Won Pat, the Assistant Minority 
Whip. Past members include: Lagrimas Leon Guerrero Untalan, Cynthia 
Johnston Torres, Katherine B. Aguon, Carmen Artero Kasperbauer, 
Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Elizabeth P. Arriola, Pilar C. Lujan, Marilyn 
D.A. Manibusan, Hermina Duenas Dierking, Marcia K. Hartsock, Martha 
Cruz Ruth, Doris Flores Brooks, Marilyn Won Pat, Senator Hope A. 
Cristobal, Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero, and Senator Elizabeth 
Barrett-Anderson, who is currently a Superior Court Judge. The highest 
staff position held by a female in the Guam Legislature is Deputy 
Director, held by Dorothy Perez.
  Women have made promising gains in the Judicial Branch as well. Two 
out of 17 judges of the Superior Court are women: Judge Frances 
Tydingco-Gatewood and Judge Katherine A.
  Past female mayors include: Rossana D. San Miguel of Chalan Pago; 
Patricia S. Quinata of Dededo; Nieves F. Sablan of Piti; and Cecilia 
Quinata Morrison of Umatac. Past Vice Mayors include Doris S. Palacios 
of Dededo; Teresita B. Umagat of Dededo; Margaret D. Mendiola Mayor of 
Sinajana; and Marie S. N. Leon Guerrero of Tamuning-Tumon.
  Women have also held high positions in political parties. Mayilyn 
D.A. Manibusan was the first and to date the only female chairperson of 
the Republican Party, holding office in 1986, and Priscilla Tenorio 
Tuncap was the first female chairperson for the Democratic Party from 
1990 to 1992. Pilar Cruz Lujan was elected last year and currently 
serves as the Democratic chairperson. Pilar Cruz served as the Vice 
Chairperson of Guam's Republican Party in the past. Nationwide, 
Madeleine Z. Bordallo is the longest-serving national committee woman 
on the Democratic National Committee and has served in this capacity 
since the Kennedy Administration.
  In addition, Antoniette Duenas Sanford is the only woman to have 
served as Chairperson of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, and Eloise Baza 
has served as the first female President of the Guam Chamber of 
Commerce for the last several years.
  As a native Chamorro from Guam, I am proud to announce some of the 
``firsts'' for Chamorro women, a few of which I have mentioned already. 
Dr. Olivia Cruz was the first Chamorro woman licensed by the Medical 
Licensure Board; Frances Marie Tydingco Gatewood was the first Chamorro 
woman judge of the Superior Court; Elizabeth Gayle was the first 
Chamorro woman to be civil engineer; Dr. Rosa Robert Carter was the 
first Chamorro woman president and the only female President of the 
University of Guam; Mary Inez Underwood was the first woman of Chamorro 
ancestry to enter the religious life; Elizabeth Barrett Anderson was 
the first

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Chamorro woman Attorney General; Rosa T. Aguigui Reyes was the first 
Chamorro woman elected to public office, as a member of the Guam 
Congress; Dr. Katherine B. Aguon was the first Chamorro woman to earn a 
doctor of philosophy degree and the first female vice speaker of the 
Guam Legislature; Cynthia Torres and Lagrimas Leon Guerrero Untalan 
were the first Chamorro women elected as senators, both serving in the 
3rd Guam Legislature; and Asuncion Flores was the first Chamorro woman 
appointed member of the assembly of the Guam Congress.
  These women in public service have been exemplary for the entire 
island and for our nation. I am truly honored to represent a district 
with such strong women leaders.
  Historically, the women of Guam have always played an important role 
in Guam society. In pre-Western contact times, the Chamorro society was 
based on a matrilineal clan system in which women performed important 
and powerful roles in the lives of the people. Lineage was traced 
through the female line and it was the relationships via the mother 
which determined wealth, social standing and power. Even with the onset 
of Western contact which was patrilineal in nature (particularly from 
Spain), the Chamorro female retained much formal and informal power in 
Guam society. This has carried itself to the present and girls and 
women continue to be influential in some social settings and dominant 
in others. Openness to female leadership and women in influential roles 
have been part of the Guam scene in spite of Western contact.
  We must also pay tribute to the women who I have not mentioned by 
name, yet who have also had a significant impact on our lives: working 
women, who fight for equal pay and non-discriminatory treatment; the 
women who stand up against domestic and family violence; the women who 
teach our children to become future leaders and the women who continue 
to learn in higher education institutions; the female community leaders 
who advocate for women's issues and for all important issues; lesbian 
women who are still fighting for the acceptance that they rightfully 
deserve. Last but not least, let us pay tribute to mothers, who provide 
love and direction so that our children are raised to become citizens 
with decency and values; single mothers, who make sacrifices every day 
so their children can live good lives; daughters, who grow up to become 
independent women of integrity and diligence; and wives, who provide 
companionship and stability.
  These are the women we celebrate in March for Women's History Month, 
and these are the women we should celebrate all year round. I urge my 
colleagues to recognize Women's History Month, not only because women's 
history is key to American history, but because women have contributed 
so much to our nation through their strength, courage, and vision.
  At this time, I would like to make note of the recent passing of a 
woman who has provided inspiration to all of the people of Guam, the 
Honorable Cynthia Johnston Torres. It is with a great sense of loss 
that we commemorate Senator Torres, a distinguished member of the Third 
Guam Legislature who passed away two days ago at the age of 89 on March 
6, 2001.
  Senator Torres is a noted figure in Guam politics. She holds the 
distinction of being one of the first women to be elected to public 
office on the island of Guam. Along with Lagrimas L.G. Untalan, the 
late senator was elected to serve in the Third Guam Legislature in 
1954. They were the first and only women elected to the Guam's 
unicameral Assembly during the first ten years of civil government on 
Guam. Although women had previously served as appointees to the Guam 
Congress, an advisory board to Guam's Naval governors during the first 
half of the last century, Senators Torres and Untalan's election marked 
the first time that women would serve as ``elected'' representatives to 
the people of Guam.
  Foremost among the reasons behind the candidacy of Guam's first women 
senators were two specific objectives--these objectives were to define 
the character of Guam politics in the years to come. The candidates 
intended to set a precedent. They wanted to have Guam's women
  The other objective set forth in the 1954 elections was to break the 
concept of block voting--a practice where an ``X'' placed by a voter on 
a large box within the ballot automatically casts votes for a certain 
party's slate of candidates. During the elections for the First and 
Second Guam Legislatures, the forerunner of the Guam Democratic Party, 
the Popular Party, was the only major political party in existence. 
Members of this party had absolute control of the First and Second 
Legislatures. In 1954, Senator Torres' election as an independent to 
the legislature earned her a prominent position which ensured 
leadership status when the Territorial Party--the forerunner of the 
Guam Republican Party--was formed in 1956. Guam voters have since been 
known to cross party lines and cast votes for candidates they feel most 
qualified rather than for party affiliations.
  As a member of the Third Guam Legislature, Senator Torres played a 
vital role in the passage of important legislation--the most notable 
being Public Law 42, which established trial by jury in certain cases 
within the jurisdiction of the District Court of Guam. In addition to a 
wide range of bills which codified the island of Guam's administrative 
and corporate procedures, the establishment of the Guam Memorial 
Hospital, the only civilian hospital, took effect during the Senator's 
  Although undoubtedly a very distinguished political figure, Senator 
Torres left a more distinct mark in the field of education. Born on 
July 27, 1911, to William G. and Agueda Iglesias Johnston, the senator 
took a path not much different from the ones taken by her parents. As 
the daughter of prominent educators, her parents' profession led her to 
devote her life to the field of education. Having received training in 
California, Senator Torres returned to Guam in 1932 to be a teacher, 
She married a successful local entrepreneur, Jose Calvo Torres, shortly 
thereafter. Mr. Torres passed away in 1946. The Senator took over his 
business ventures and quickly became a respected member of the local 
business community.
  Having noted the lack of educational opportunities for Guam's 
handicapped children, Senator Torres decided to sell her business 
interests in 1958 in order to pursue a degree in elementary and special 
education. Upon completing her Master's Degree at the University of 
California in San Diego, she came back to Guam to become a consultant 
for the island's only school for the physically and mentally 
handicapped children. She later became its principal. Under her 
direction, the school developed and implemented educational and 
vocational programs which she added to the customary custodial care 
provided by the school to handicapped children.
  She retired from government service in 1975 and, in recent years, has 
served the community through her involvement in civic organizations. 
She was a member of the University of Guam Board of Regents, the Guam 
Economic Development Authority, the Marianas Association of Retired 
Citizens. She was a co-founder and charter member of the Guam Lytico-
Bodig Association, she has served as chair to the Guam Memorial 
Hospital's Board of Trustees and she was a past-president of the Guam 
Association of Retired Persons.
  For all her work and accomplishments, Senator Torres was conferred 
numerous awards and commendations. She has received several 
commendations from the Guam Legislature including Resolution 282 from 
the 20th Guam Legislature which recognized and commended her love and 
service for the people of Guam. In addition, she was also awarded an 
honorary Doctor of Law Degree from the University of Guam in 1981 and 
the Distinguished Leadership Award from the American Biographical 
Institute for Outstanding Education.
  Senator Cynthia Johnston Torres leaves a great legacy of service and 
devotion to the island and people of Guam. A pioneer in the field of 
politics and education, her endeavors and accomplishments provide 
inspiration to the men and women of Guam. As we mourn her passing, her 
perseverance and energy will forever live in our hearts.
  Adios, Senator Torres, yan gof dangkalo na si Yu'os Ma'ase ginen 
todos I taotaon Guam. You are an inspiration to the people of Guam and 
to our nation. During Women's History Month and beyond, we will 
celebrate your life and your legacy.