Guam mourns the passing of former Speaker Joe T. San Agustin, who passed away today. He was 91. San Agustin served as speaker in the 20th, 21st and 22nd Guam Legislatures and senator in the Guam Legislature for 10 consecutive terms.
He was married to Carmen Shimizu and they had five children, including their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His son Joe Shimizu San Agustin is now a senator from the 34th and 35th Guam Legislature.
He also served as chairman of the Democratic Party of Guam from 1997 to 2001.
"Speaker San Agustin lived a life dedicated to faith, politics, and serving the people of Guam," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
As the speaker of the Guam Legislature and executive director of the Guam Base Reuse and Closure (BRAC) Office, he was instrumental in shepherding the return and reuse of Tiyan.
San Agustin was also director of Administration to Gov. Manuel FL Guerrero, the last appointed governor, and Gov. Carlos Camacho, the first elected governor.
In the Guam Legislature, he focused on protecting public finances and economic development.
Speaker San Agustin was a staunch defender of the Government of Guam Retirement Fund and served as the chairman of its elected board. Our island lost a great advocate today.
“Our deepest condolences and sympathies go out to his children—Senator Joe, Annie, Mary, John, and their families. As a friend, I will miss him. As an island, we will miss a great statesman, an advocate for the people of Guam, a compassionate public official, and a devoted Catholic. Thank you Joe for all that you have done for our people," the governor said.
Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio described San Agustin as "a giant in politics."
"He helped shape and reform our public institutions and build Guam’s economic engines to generate wealth and prosperity for the island. He was well regarded by leaders of all persuasions and will be remembered as one of the most effective policymakers to have ever served our island,” Tenorio said.
Congressman Michael San Nicolas issued the following statement: "My family and I wish to extend our hearts and prayers for Speaker Joe T. San Agustin and the family. Speaker San Agustin served with my grandpa during their time in the legislature, and dedicated his entire life to public service. Our island has lost an icon, but we know he is happy with Auntie May."
Speaker There Terlaje said San Agustin was instrumental in the establishment of many agencies, services and programs of the government of Guam and fought for retirement security for employees after their long years of sacrifice and service to the government of Guam
"It is with great sorrow that I extend condolences from the 36th Guam Legislature to the family of the late Honorable Speaker Joe Taitano San Augustin," Terlaje said.
Prior to serving in the Legislature, Joe T. served in various capacities in the government of Guam and was instrumental in the transition of Guam's government and agencies from appointed Governors to Guam's first elected Governor.
In 1962, he led 20 government employees in donating to establish the Government of Guam Federal Credit Union. He later served on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Guam.
"His exemplary work ethic and service to lifting our people will forever remain an inspiration and standard by which future leaders should model themselves after. We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to his family during their time of grief," Terlaje said.
The Republican Party of Guam said San Agustin "was a true public servant and his dedication to the people of Guam will be missed. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his son, Senator Joe Shimizu San Agustin and to his entire family and many friends."