Oct. 4, 2004 — The V.I. Source has e-mailed a set of nine questions, developed by editors and reporters of the publications, to as many senatorial candidates as could be reached by e-mail.
There were several candidates for whom the Source could not obtain e-mail addresses, which is the only acceptable means of communication for the questionnaire, Shaun A. Pennington, publisher, said Monday.
"We are well into the technical age," Pennington said. "We believe, if the territory is to move forward economically, our leaders need to get with it, meaning have e-mail addresses and understand how to use the technology."
Pennington said anyone who did not receive the questionnaire, which was sent in a rich text format, can e-mail the Source at email@example.com and a questionnaire will be fowarded to them via return e-mail. Or the questions can be copied from below and pasted into a word processing document and then saved and returned to the Source via e-mail. The attachments can be sent as Microsoft Word, WordPerfect or rich text format (rtf) files. Faxed documents will not be accepted.
The responses will be posted to the Source's special Elections 2004 section. Readers can check in periodically to see who has responded.
"It is time to break with tradition and demand that those who wish to serve answer the questions, in writing, that are put to them prior to the election. The questions address what the candidates stand for, what they support and what ideas they have to move us forward and to solve some of our most troubling problems," Pennington said.
"We will have their answers in perpetuity on the Source where the voters can look back and see what their candidate promised before the election."
Readers will also see clearly those candidates that have not stepped up to the plate and answered these "very basic, but very important questions," Pennington said. "We think all voters should expect the candidates to be able to answer some of these basic questions. What we desperately need in the Virgin Islands are solutions. These questions, we feel, call for solutions.
"Roadway signs and fish fries are no longer enough," she said.
The Source is also asking the candidates to attach their resumes. Pennington said it is another very valuable way for voters to determine if the people they are voting for are qualified for the job.
"There's not a company in this country that would hire someone for an executive position without first seeing their resume," Pennington said. "It's a pretty basic requirement."
The questions are:
1. Do you support the establishment of the chief financial officer position as one method of achieving improved financial accountability and fiscal stability? If no, what is the best method to get fiscal accountability in the government? Can it be legislated? If so, how? Please be as specific and detailed as possible.
2. What would you do to address the amount of unfunded liability of the Government Employment Retirement System, and the retroactive obligations owed to government employees?
3. Given the federal scrutiny current focused on the EDC program, what would you suggest legislatively should be done to quell concerns and insure the future and growth of the program?
4. The public school system graduates about 1200 students every year. Do you think the curriculum of most public schools prepares young people for job opportunities if they dont go to college? If so, what kind of businesses would you expect to attract to the territory that could be filled by young people graduating from the territory's public high schools?
If you don't think these students are prepared to find meaningful work right from high school, how would you address this?
The same question applies to the consistently poor performance of our students on standardized tests. What kind of businesses would you invite to the territory that would hire students who fail to meet the criteria of college entrance?
4. a. How would you expect to attract those kinds of businesses, given the state of the territory's infrastructure?
5. What do you see as the root of escalating crime among young people in the territory? What activities, education and employment opportunities would you suggest to give youths the choice to make their lives better What legislative measures or program funding can effectively address the situation?
6. Gun violence is taking a terrible toll on our community. It brings death, grief and fear. It threatens our economic base tourism, and demoralizes our young people. What would you suggest legislatively to quell the increasing gun problems? Would you consider supporting some type of gun control legislation? If not, why? If so, what kind of legislation would you support?
7. Would you be willing to give the Inspector General's office a meaningful percentage of the budget in order to investigate while collar crime, waste and abuse in government? If so what would that percentage be?
8. What would you do about the number of individuals and families in our community who do not have health insurance?
9. What would you do to address the homeless and mentally ill who wander the streets of the community on all three islands? You may be island or district specific.
Please attach a resume of qualifications that would assist you in being an effective Legislator.
You may send the resume as a MS Word, WordPerfect or rich text format (.rtf) document.