Telena is a dedicated daughter of Guam, an educator, and the first female combat veteran to ever be elected to the Guam Legislature.

Telena Cruz Nelson



Telena Cruz Nelson is a three-term Democratic senator currently serving as Majority Leader of the 36th Guam Legislature. 

Senator Nelson was first elected to the 34th Guam Legislature in the 2016 general election. Although a fresh face in local politics, she received the fifth-highest vote count capturing the hearts of 16,922 voters. When she ran for re-election in 2018, she welcomed even more supporters receiving the second-highest vote count with 20,335 votes. 

Life and Education

Telena Cruz Nelson was born on September 25, 1980, in Portland, Oregon, the first of five children. She is the daughter of Theodore Dwight Borja Nelson and Stephanie Cruz Nelson both natives of Guam. Her paternal grandparents are Theodore Sgambelluri Nelson, who served as Vice Speaker of the Guam Legislature, and Gloria Camacho Borja Nelson (d.) and her maternal grandparents are Jose Quitugua Cruz (d.) and Asuncion "Connie" Lazaro Cruz.


She was raised in a Roman Catholic family. Her maternal grandmother Connie was instrumental in the pilgrimage that brought the Santa Maria Kamalen-Our Lady of Camarin to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. She and her maternal grandmother are lectors at their Catholic Church.


She attended Simon Sanchez High School in Guam. She graduated from the University of Guam with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration and is an ICMP Certified Manager. Nelson is a Major in the Guam Army National Guard. In 2001, she enlisted as a Combat Medic. In 2007, she entered and completed Officer Candidate School to be commissioned as an Officer in the Guam Army National Guard.


Record of Public Service

36th Guam Legislature 


  • Committee on Education and Infrastructural Advancement, Border Protection and Maritime Transportation, Guahan Preservation and Self Determination, and Federal and Foreign Relations


  • Committee on Justice

  • Committee on Higher Education and the advancement of Women and Youth


  • Committee on Rules

  • Committee on Public Accountability, Human Resources, the Guam Buildup, Hagatna Revitalization, Regional Affairs, Public Libraries, Telecommunications, and Technology

  • Committee on Environment, Revenue and Taxation, Labor, Procurement, and Statistics, Research, and Planning

35th Guam Legislature


  • Committee on Education, Air Transportation, and Statistics, Research, and Planning​


  • Committee on Higher Education

  • Committee on Revenue, Taxation, and Procurement​


  • Committee on Rules

  • Committee on Health, Tourism, Historic Preservation, Land, and Justice

  • Committee on Public Accountability, Human Resources, and the Guam Buildup

  • Committee on Public Safety, Border Safety, Military and Veteran Affairs, Mayors Council, Infrastructure and Public Transit

34th Guam Legislature:  


  • Committee on Housing, Utilities, Public Safety, and Homeland Security​


  • Committee on Rules

  • Committee on Culture and Justice​


  • Committee on General Government Operations and Federal, Foreign, & Regional Affairs

  • Committee on Innovation and Economic, Work Force, and Youth Development


Nelson has civilian experience as an educator in the Guam Department of Education. Coming from a background of educators- her parents, both grandmothers, aunts, siblings, and cousins- her calling was clear to help educate younger generations.


Her family comes from a lineage of farmers and ranchers that have produced their own food and agricultural products for means of living and reselling. Her great-great grandfather Peter Nelson was a botanist and discovered a large tree from the Serianthes family which they named after him. The Seraithes Nelsonii is known as the S. Nelsonii or hayun lagu. It was named critically endangered in 1998.


She has shown her passion for helping the community by holding multiple teaching positions over the span of several years. Nelson has had the opportunity to work as a Science and Physical Education Teacher as well as hold the position of Opportunity Room and Secondary Teacher positions. Through these positions, she has been able to enrich her students’ curriculum to the national and state standards as well as promote physical fitness in the lives of Guam’s youth.

Here to Serve

Senator Nelson signed up to serve her country and island by joining the Guam Army National Guard in 2001. She held the position of Combat Medic, where she administered emergency medical treatment to battlefield casualties, assisted with outpatient/inpatient care and treatment, and prepared blood samples for laboratory analysis between 2001 and 2007. Since then, she's also held the following positions:
·Officer in Charge, 105th Troop Command Headquarters
·Company Commander, 1671st Signal Network Support Detachment
·S6 Signal Officer, 1225TH Combat Sustainment Support Batallion, Afghanistan
·Training Officer, 105th Troop Command Headquarters
·Chief Plans and Operations Officer (CND-Team Chief)
·Company Commander, 721st Signal Company, 105th Troop Command, Guam Army National Guard
·Computer Network Defense Team Chief, 721st Signal Company, 105th Troop Command, Guam Army National Guard


Awards and Honors:


·Bronze Star Medal
·Army Commendation Medal
·Army Achievement Medal
·Afghanistan Campaign Medal
·NATO Medal
·Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M-Device
·Guam Commendation Medal
·German Proficiency Badge (Foreign Award)
·Adjutant General Star Note for exceptional performance (2015)
·Adjutant General Star Note for Marksmanship
·Adjutant General Star Note for Exceptional Physical Fitness
Umatac 7
Dump 2
Flag Raising Ceremony 1
Sakkan Chamoru 2