MANUEL FLORES LEON GUERRERO was born in Agana, Guam, on October 25, 1914. Although he had never pursued higher education, in 1968 Guerrero received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the West Virginia Institute of Technology, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1969 from Colorado State College. He received accolades for promoting the Pacific islands through his years of service, as well as being awarded “Honorary Seabee” for his “Can Do spirit” and his support of military programs on Guam.
His public offices include: Member of Guam Congress, 1948-50, Chairman of Finance Committee; member of First Guam Legislature, 1950-52, chairman of Rules Committee; various administrative positions in Naval Government from 1930 to 1950 when civil government was established; chairman of Land Transfer Board, 1950; special assistant to Governor, 1951; Acting Governor and Secretary of Guam at various times from 1950 to 1956; Secretary of Guam, 1961-62; Alternate Commissioner to South Pacific Commission, 1962. Guerrero was appointed and served as Governor of Guam from 1963 to 1969.
In 1968, a Republican administration was elected in Washington. Although Guerrero had wanted to stay in office and complete his second term, he followed the precedent set by the previous governors who vacated their positions for new presidential appointees. To accommodate the new administration, Guerrero resigned his position in 1969. The Elected Governor Act was passed, amending the Organic Act of 1950 and allowing for the election of the first governor of Guam. In 1970, Guerrero entered the gubernatorial race under the Democratic ticket with running mate Dr. Antonio “Tony” Yamashita. They were closely defeated, however, in the contentious primary by Ricardo Bordallo and Richard Taitano. It was the Republican Carlos Camacho that won the general election and became Guam’s first freely elected governor.