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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024
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MORE ON PART-TIME SENATORS

To the editor:
Thanks for your continuing coverage on the Virgin Islands. It is, indeed, enlightening and- as someone who does not have to live on the islands-amusing. I must admit, however, that sometimes I must check the date on the stories I'm reading. For example-Schools' water is contaminated and other schools will be late in opening. Is that this year or last year?-you've reported on them both.
What I'm trying to point out (and there are many, many other examples such as schools not ready to open due to construction, governor's budget late in getting to senate, Turnbull administration officials refusing to answer or appear in front of the Senate and public, more raw sewage pumped into the waters off St. Croix, outsiders (Navy and off-islanders) concerned about crime in the territory, Senate meetings interrupted by Hansen-Bryan outbursts, committee meetings rescheduled due to a lack of quorum due to no-shows by over-paid Senators, and on and on) is that many of the stories that you are now reporting on have happened in the past with no benefit to the public and private economy made since the last reporting or the last election.
Because of this, I must encourage all Virgin Islanders to support Senate President Vargrave Richards' efforts to reduce the Senate by making them citizen Senators rather than professional Senators. Forty states, all larger that the V.I., use this system effectively and to the benefit of the people represented.
Opponents such as Sen. Roosevelt David (ask your readers what he has to lose-possibly $35,000 per year) say that Pres. Richards' proposal will "not attract the best and the brightest." For Sen. David's edification, getting paid $30,000 for three months work is almost twice the current salary for him and his colleagues. At that rate, he would make $120,000 per year-is he saying that is not enough to make him run again (double what he is making now)? is not the equivalent of $120,000 per year enough to attract the "best and the brightest." Can't Sen. David do the math? Ask him how many people he knows who would be willing to serve for three months for $30,000and I'd bet the list would be extensive. I'd bet he would do it. Sen. David, being so economically astute, would know that even the Part-time Senators would accrue benefits (most likely more than full-time employees of VI businesses) so he would include that in his calculation of the "salary" of part-time Senators.
If Sen. Roosevelt David was being honest to those who put him in office, he would do the math and honestly represent Senate Pres. Richards' proposal rather than saying " if won't attract the best and the brightest." He would say, "that for those willing to serve 90 days we are willing to double the current salary of elected public servants (Hopefully he will not be asked to define public servant). Don't get me wrong. On many occasions I think that Sen. David is doing what is in the best interest of the people of the territory. Simply because I think he is wrong on this issue does not mean I don't support him in the upcoming election.
Cheers,
Angela Hamlin
Seattle, Wash.

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