As a freshman senator in the 34th Legislature of Guam, Regine Biscoe Lee really has a lot on her plate, having somewhat unexpectedly become the chairperson of Committee on Rules, generally considered the most prestigious committee in the legislature.
“It was a surprise. It was unprecedented to have the change six months into a term,” said Lee. She succeeded Sen. Michael San Nicolas, who stepped down in June. “I was honored that Speaker B.J. Cruz selected me. I am the first freshman senator to be chairman of the Committee on Rules while also being legislative secretary.”
The Committee on Rules has accepted Lee with open arms. She knows that they’re already a well-organized team with great intelligence. “Sen. Tom Ada, who is already a member of the committee, has recently accepted my request to serve as COR vice chairman,” she said. “He brings a lot of institutional knowledge and is respected within the body, and working with him can help us to move forward in an effective, efficient and accountable way.”
Lee believes San Nicolas’s work as chairperson really set the stage for the committee and she hopes to follow his structure. “The former chairman did a good job of laying the groundwork and creating a system through which bills would be processed, and my colleagues have all become very accustomed to this process,” Lee explained. “My goal is to provide continuity of that service. There may be some tweaks here and there, as my team and I are constantly asking ourselves how we can improve and be even more effective. But for the most part, I have committed to my colleagues that in taking on this role, I will continue to operate under the framework that the former chairman established.”
Though she has a heavy load, Lee refuses to be overwhelmed. “It carries a lot of responsibility, and I’m aware of that, but I’m very dedicated, and I work hard to ensure that we’re putting our best foot forward,” Lee asserted. “Our shared goal is to do what’s within our power to keep the business of the legislature running smoothly, to keep things transparent and to live up to the standard that the people of Guam deserve.”
Lee’s biggest motivator is her voters. “I’m honored to have received the public’s trust and confidence in the last election – I remember that every day,” Lee admitted. “That provides a lot of focus and drive in my work. At the same time, it’s a challenging environment to work in. A lot of things pop up at a moment’s notice that need to be urgently addressed. Sometimes it’s a joy, and other times it’s a challenge to work with the 14 other members of this body to get things passed. That being said, I have tried and will continue to be very collaborative in bills we introduce and policies we’re trying to create.”
Despite her new responsibilities, Lee still has many plans for her term as senator. “I would like to create strategies that will boost economic development, including policies that will assist small-business growth and streamline the business licensing process, those that would expand job training and workforce development opportunities and resources and those that would assist professional development and training opportunities for educators,” she said. “I would like to continue our work with relevant government agencies, businesses and local nonprofits to create policies that will strengthen partnerships to make Guam a safer place for families. And lastly, I would like to introduce measures that support sustainable living practices and healthy living for island residents.”
The senator’s strong sense of caring can be attributed to those who help and care deeply for her and her success. “I have a great team that cares just as much as I do, and that helps me to stay motivated, focused and purpose-driven,” said Lee. With her evident vision and drive, Guam has great expectations for this freshman senator.