Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo
Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo | Guampedia: The Encyclopedia of Guam
Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo
Senator Bordallo's Family
Ricky for Governor
Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo
Ricardo Jerome Bordallo (December 11, 1927 - January 31, 1990) was the first popularly elected governor to serve two terms (1975-1978 and 1983-1986).
Gov. Carlos Camacho had also served two terms though one was an appointed and the other elected.
A pioneer of the Guam Democratic Party, Bordallo
fought for Guam commonwealth status and invested heavily in modernizing Guam infrastructure.
He had also served as chairman of the Popular Party when it sought and received affiliation with the National Democratic Party.
A son of Hagåtña, Bordallo began his education at the Guam Institute.
In 1940, he attended George Washington High School until it was closed due to the Japanese invasion of Guam in 1941.
Bordallo enrolled at the University of San Francisco after the war with aspirations of becoming a businessman and politician like his father B.J. Bordallo.
After three years of university, Bordallo
returned to Guam to take a position at the family company, Bordallo
first bid for public office in 1952 at the age of 24.
At the time local law required that office holders be at least 25 years old.
argued successfully that he
would be 25 before taking office if he
was the first to campaign with posters with his
photo and handouts with his
platform and experience.
first and second campaigns, but won a seat in 1956.
In 1953, Bordallo married future delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives Madeline Mary Zeien and refocused on his business aspirations.
Bordallo was a businessman and a member of many civic organizations.
He led the Marianas Lions Club as well as Ricky's Suburban Club, the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross, the Navy League of Guam and the Air Force Association of Guam.
Bordallo owned Ricky's Auto Company
, which was the first American distributor for Toyota
The auto company eventually grew into Ricky's Enterprises
and at its height was valued at $25 million.
had a hand in many different aspects of business life on Guam including finance, publishing, housing, real estate, insurance and tourism.
Failed real estate deals combined with the Oil Crisis in the early 1970's marked the beginning of a financial decline for Bordallo
ambitious plan to build a huge resort in Chalan Pago/Yona in partnership with two large Japanese corporations came to a halt when his
partners pulled out of the deal and left Bordallo
owing millions for land transactions.
This occurred between his
unsuccessful bid for Guam's
first elected governor election in 1970 and his
gubernatorial election victory in 1974.
Undeterred by his
loss in 1952 for a seat in the Guam Legislature, Bordallo
ran for office again in 1954 and 1956.
As a member of the Popular Party
, the precursor to the Democratic Party
won a senate seat.
By the time he
legislative career he
would win re-election seven times, serving in the fourth through tenth Guam Legislatures.
In 1958, he became chairman of the Popular Party and from 1960-1961 became the first chairman for the newly formed Democratic Party.
Highlights from this period include his involvement in helping create Guam's Washington Office and the Elective Governorship Act of 1968, which allowed for the first time governor elections voted on by Guam residents.
Bordallo and running mate Richard F. Taitano won the first Democratic nomination for governor in 1970.
In 1973 Bordallo
along with running mate Rudolph Sablan and under the guidance of Richard F. Taitano, who was then campaign manager, easily won the democratic nomination in 1974.
The divide was enough for Bordallo
to take office.
came into power during a recession, due in large part to the Arab oil embargo of 1973.
The early part of his
governorship was spent dealing with internal problems such as a tourism slump, necessary government budget cuts and the short term influx of 100,000 evacuees from Vietnam following the Vietnam War.
Super typhoon Pamela struck in 1976 leaving the island in tatters.
was successful in securing $367 million for typhoon reconstruction, capital improvement projects and Government of Guam investments.
A new building was secured for Guam Memorial Hospital
Tourism development at Tumon Bay began, including new water and sewer lines, sewage treatment plants and new water reservoirs and wells.
Transportation was aided by the addition of twenty new miles of highways and eight replaced bridges.
lost his reelection bid to the Republican team of Paul Calvo and Joseph Ada in 1978 amidst a spike in the Government of Guam deficit.
In 1978, with a new lieutenant governor running mate, Dr. Pedro Sanchez, an educator and historian, Bordallo
ran for re-election but lost.
second term, Bordallo
chaired the Commission for Self-Determination
and spearheaded the drafting of the Guam Commonwealth Act developed by June 4, 1986.
education problems with his
1983 "Blueprint for Excellence" and handled the accreditation status of the University of Guam
Controversy met his
construction of the Adelup
administration facility, now named in his
honor, though the former school had been closed due to the poor condition of the building.
Critics questioned the necessity of spending $1.2 million on his
"jewel of the Pacific" during tight economic times.
Conviction and suicide
Three days before Bordallo
was scheduled to face legislative Speaker Carl T.C. Gutierrez in the 1986 Guam Democratic Party
was summoned by a federal grand jury on September 3, 1986 and indicted on eleven counts of corruption.
lost the election and on February 13, 1987, Bordallo
was found guilty on ten of seventeen counts of extortion, bribery or gratuity, conspiracy and witness tampering.
The 9th Circuit overturned eight of the remaining ten convictions in August 1988.
Only the convictions on witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruction of justice remained.
continued to be involved in politics during this period, focusing his
energies on campaigning for approval of the Draft Guam Commonwealth Act and the fight against casino gambling on the island.
After a failed appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court
faced a four-year sentence in a federal minimum-security prison beginning on February 1, 1990.
Three hours before he
was to fly to California, Bordallo drove to the Chief Kepuha (also spelled Quipuha) statue at the Paseo Loop.
set up hand made placards that lamented the fractured state of Chamorro control of Guam
and reaffirmed his
love of the island.
laid out a Guam flag on the ground in front of him and committed suicide with a .38 caliber pistol.
Known as Dreamer, Builder: Lived Life of Triumph and Loss.
Pacific Daily News, February 1, 1990.
"A Tribute to Governor Ricardo Jerome Bordallo.
Commemorative Ceremony, Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex, Adelup, GU, January 31, 1997.
How to cite this entry: Nicholas Yamashita Quinata, ' Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo'
, referenced December 31, 2011, © 2009 Guampedia™
, URL: http://guampedia.com/governor-ricardo-j-bordallo/