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DeJongh Formally Announces Candidacy for Governor

May 25, 2006 — The 2006 election heated up Wednesday evening when gubernatorial candidate John deJongh officially announced that he was again seeking the highest seat in the land — and that the second seat in his administration would be held by someone familiar to all.
Surrounded by a crowd of well over 600, deJongh introduced Gregory Francis, former St. Croix administrator for the Turnbull administration, as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Francis, who recently resigned from his position, is also a 27-year veteran of the military.
The almost-evangelically enthused, racially and ethnically mixed crowd cheered wildly as the deJongh/Francis team took the podium to address the crowd gathered at the Villa Morales Restaurant in Whim.
The two, who are running on the Democratic ticket, were accompanied by their wives, Cecile and Cheryl, respectively.
DeJongh stated that his decision to ask Francis to serve as his running mate was based upon the fact that he "wanted someone that knows the problems and challenges faced by St. Croix and could realize the possibilities for a bright future." DeJongh added that he wanted a "partner and not a person of convenience … a teammate that would ensure that the people of these Virgin Islands achieve our potential."
He further stated that, "Greg [Francis] has served as the administrator of St. Croix and has worked to ensure the highest level of customer service possible as he tended to people's needs and issues. He will now have the power to deliver on all that he knows requires fixing."
In a wide-ranging speech, deJongh spoke of many of the ills facing the Virgin Islands, singling out education, police protection, homeownership and the need for economic development in the Virgin Islands to also assist local businesses.
"My experience in government and in business has taught me not only what government should do, but more importantly, how government can do it … [government] must be open and transparent in its operations and decision-making," said deJongh.
"It must treat everyone fairly and equally. It cannot pick and choose. It must be premised on mutual respect and trust that can only take root with leaders that are honest and open and involved with all the people and not hidden and remote," he added.
He also mentioned the need to beautify the towns of the Virgin Islands and focus on the beauty and unique qualities of each. He acknowledged the Education Department needed to be decentralized so that principals can make decisions immediately to positively impact the schools.
He further declared that the homeless, mentally ill and disabled persons in the Virgin Islands must also be cared for and that in his administration, the abuse of women and children would not be overlooked or ignored.
"Good government requires good people, fairly treated and fairly paid. And I believe competence must trump politics and partisanship every time. I am not afraid to surround myself with smart, knowledgeable, hard-working people," he said.
"I will never ask anyone who works with me to do anything I would not do first myself. And in turn, I will listen and work with people from all of the Islands, from all walks of life, to achieve the goals we set forth for all of us," deJongh said.
The announcement marks deJongh's second try for the highest seat in the land. He first ran in 2002 with St. Croix businessman Paul Arnold.
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