Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Governor Paul M. Calvo Papers, 1979-1982
Authors: Calvo, Paul Mcdonald
Keywords: Government of Guam Operations
Territorial Party--Guam
Republican Party--Guam
Guam Federation of Teachers--Union
Government of Guam Employees Strike
Issue Date: 1979
Publisher: The Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center
Citation: item identification, Governor Paul M. Calvo Papers, 1979-1982, MSS 2660, The Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam. Mangilao, Guam.
Series/Report no.: MSS 2660;
Abstract: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Paul Mcdonald Calvo was born on July 25, 1934 in Agana, the eldest of three sons. He attended Agana Heights Elementary School and for two years he studied at George Washington High School on Guam. He then transferred to the Peacock Military academy in San Antonio, Texas. In 1958 Paul Calvo completed his formal education taking a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce at the University of Santa Clara in California. Returning to Guam Calvo worked as a car salesman. He also began selling insurance; this proved to be the beginning of Calvo's Insurance Company which, in turn, was the nucleus of today's successful Calvo's Enterprises. In 1964 Paul Calvo decided to enter local politics. That year the Territorial Party, to which Calvo belonged, won a majority in the Eighth Guam Legislature from the Democrats; Paul Calvo was one of the newly elected senators. He would go on to serve three non-consecutive terms in the Legislature (Calvo was re-elected in 1970 and 1972) at one point chairing the Committee on Finance and Taxation. The Territorial Party of Guam had been formed in 1956 by discontented members of the Popular (later Democratic) Party of Guam. This dissatisfied faction was led by Paul Calvo's father Eduardo "Jake" Calvo. The Territorial Party later dissolved with many of its members joining the newly organized Republican Party in 1966. Paul Calvo was one of those who became Republicans. In 1974 Calvo determined to run for governor. He chose for his running mate Senator Tony Palomo. Due in large part to his business background Calvo drew support from the island's business community and independents. However, in The Republican primary he faced the incumbent governor, Carlos Camacho. The Calvo-Palomo team came close, losing by a mere 261 votes out of a total of 11,011 votes cast. In the general election that November Calvo and Palomo mounted a well-organized and well financed write-in campaign. In the three-way race they came in third, losing to Democrats Ricardo Bordallo and Rudy Sablan and the second place team of Governor Camacho and Lieutenant Governor Kurt Moylan. In the ensuing run-off election between the two top vote getters Bordallo won the governorship by a narrow margin over Camacho. Following his defeat, former Governor Camacho retired from politics relinquishing leadership of Guam's Republican Party to Paul Calvo. Four years later, in 1978, Calvo again ran for governor. This time his running mate was the popular, and future governor, Joseph Ada, Speaker of the Guam Legislature. Running on a "balance-the-budget" theme, Calvo portrayed Governor Bordallo's administration as extravagant and mismanaged. This attracted voters from the business community and many independents. These independent voters traditionally have played an important role in the island's elections. During the campaign a division appeared in the Democratic ranks. Lieutenant Governor Sablan quarreled openly with Governor Bordallo and ran against him in the party's primary. Bordallo won the primary, but the split in the party hurt the Democrats in the general election: Calvo-Ada. Upon election Calvo stepped down as president and chairman of the board of Paul Calvo enterprises. While in office he was replaced by his brother Eddie. Drawing on his experience as a manager Paul Calvo was able to reduce the Government of Guam's deficit by an impressive $27 million during his first year in office. However, later in his term the deficit began to grow once again. A notable political event took place that same year, 1979: The vote on Guam's draft constitution. This document had already been approved by President Jimmy Carter and the United States Congress. But a poor public education campaign led to confusion and a low voter turnout. Only 18% of the 13,154 voters who went to the polls were in favor of the draft. In 1980 Governor confronted Calvo what was arguably the most divisive issue of his administration: A strike by public school teachers. Government of Guam employees, faced with high inflation began a petition drive to place a 30% cost-of-living raise on the November ballot. The driving force behind this petition was the school teachers whose salaries fell far below the national averages. Their union, the Guam Federation of Teachers (GFT) was by the largest of the island's operating Engineers Local Number 3 and the Chamorro Employees Union. These two small organizations played a negligible role in the strike action.) The petition drive failed; the cost-of-living adjustment did not appear on the ballot. Instead the Legislature passed a modest pay increase. Governor Calvo saw this as financially responsible and signed it into law. But the Legislature worsened the situation when its twenty-one members voted themselves, their staff members, government agency directors, and judges a 27% pay raise without a public hearing or floor debate. Governor Calvo promptly vetoed this bill. The Legislature then overrode his veto. The GFT (but not the other unions) responded with a call for a strike. Under Guam law strikes by government employees are illegal. Governor Calvo sought an injunction to stop the strike and he obtained one from the Superior Court of Guam on January 10, 1981. The GFT ignored the court order and about 750 teachers went on strike. Most of these were contract teachers recruited from the mainland United States. Some school bus drivers, school aides, and faculty members from Guam Community College, and the University of Guam went on strike in sympathy with the teachers. Governor Paul Calvo remained firmly convinced there was not enough money for that large of a pay hike. In response to the Strike the director of the Department of Education hired 650 teachers and the president of the University fired fifteen professors. While this was taking place the public schools remained open with larger class sizes and employing substitute teachers, many of whom were not professionally certified teachers. After a fifty-eight day walkout the GFT called it quits on March 10, 1981. Governor Calvo then offered 200 teaching positions to strikers, and there were no reprisals against them. Unfortunately over 200 teachers and their families left the island. By 1982 Guam's public school system was back to normal. In the midst of the strike Guam was visited by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. On February 23, 1981 the Pope celebrated an open air mass attended by 15,000 to 25,000 people. To commemorate his sojourn on the island the government re-named an Agaña street "Santo Juan Pablos Dos,"and erected a life-size statue of the pontiff. Towards the end of the Calvo-Ada administration Guam's political status once more was before the public. An official referendum was held on this issue on January 12, 1982. Only 37% of the electorate bothered to vote. Commonwealth (broadly defined as a status similar to that of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas) received the endorsement of 49% of the voters with statehood being the second most popular with 26%. Other arrangements were selected by the remainder of those who voted. Since no political status received a majority of votes cast, a second referendum was set for September 4 that year. It would coincide with the regularly scheduled primary election. This time the voter turnout was up to Guam's usually high standards, 82%. Commonwealth was by far the favored status (73%) with statehood again the second most popular garnering 27% of the votes. In general Governor Calvo's term in office was known for his support of the private sector while he continued to upgrade Guam's infrastructure. Roads, village streets, and the power, water, and sewer system were all improved. Of particular importance was the reconstruction and modernization of the Guam Telephone Authority. By 1982, however, the government's payroll had grown and the deficit was again a problem. In addition to these economic problems and the trouble with the teacher's strike, Governor Calvo, like his predecessor Governor Ricardo Bordallo, quarreled with his running-mate. The result was that Lieutenant Governor Ada was dropped from Calvo's ticket for the 1982 campaign. Ada was replaced by Peter F. Perez, Jr., a young attorney. Calvo-Perez easily won the Republican primary that year defeating the Kurt Moylan­ Frank F. Blas ticket by 12% of the vote. Both Moylan and Blas were members of the legislature. The general election saw Calvo-Perez facing the team of Ricky Bordallo and Edward D. Reyes, a retired air force officer. In a hotly contested election Bordallo slipped by Calvo of the 28,996 votes cast, Bordallo won by 1,402. Following the election Calvo retired from politics to devote all his energies to his business enterprise. Once again taking charge of Calvo Enterprises Paul Calvo began reorganizing and expanding the corporation. Today, what had its genesis as a local insurance agency has grown to a vast business conglomerate with office in California as well as in the Marianas. Calvo enterprises included wholesale and retail firms including supermarkets and real estate, recreation, distribution, and construction firms. It is one of the largest employers in Guam's growing private sector. Paul Calvo is married to the former Rosa Baza. They have eight children one of whom, their son Eddie, was elected to the Guam Legislature in 1998. Source: MARC Working Papers #76, Inventory of Papers of Governor Paul M. Calvo. Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam, 2000.
Description: SCOPE AND CONTENTS NOTE Governor Calvo's papers were donated to RFT-MARC in 1999. Each folder bore its original label. This designation, along with the order in which the papers were arranged has been maintained. The papers consist of public laws, bills of the Guam Legislature, files on various subjects, incoming and outgoing correspondence, telegrams, and chronologically arranged files. Among the subjects dealt with in this collection are public health, labor and employment, Guam Memorial Hospital, Guam Environmental Protection Agency, the Guam Energy Office, political status, Guam Mental Health and Substance Abuse Agency, housing and urban development, the Pacific Basin Development Council, the Sixteenth Guam Legislature, the Attorney General's Office, the teachers’ strike, Guam Power Authority, and Guam Telephone Authority. The folders listed in the container list provides greater detail of the contents of Governor Calvo's papers.
Appears in Collections:The Manuscripts Collection (MSS)

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Governor Paul M. Calvo Papers Container List.pdf1.08 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail

Items in the UOG University Libraries Digital Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.