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Sunday, January 29, 2023
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‘Retired’ Senators Face Future; One Has Great Expectations

As the 15 members of the 30th Legislature prepare to take the oath of office Monday, some “retired” senators are headed off in other directions, at least one of them planning a trek up Government Hill.

Six members of the 29th Legislature chose not to run for re-election last November: on St. Thomas, Carlton Dowe, Louis Hill, Patrick Simeon Sprauve, Alvin Williams Jr., and Celestino White, and from St. Croix, Usie Richards.

White told the Source this week that he’s opening a consulting firm and even provided an introductory letter outlining his services. But he made it clear the business is meant to be temporary, confirming what has been common knowledge for some time:

“I will be a candidate for governor in 2014. That is a definite,” White said.

In the meantime, he said he would also consider taking the position of police commissioner, if it were offered, but downplayed that possibility.

Other “retirees” were less forthcoming about their plans. Reached Friday, Richards said he was too busy to talk about his plans. Reached again Saturday, he was still too busy. A myriad of phone numbers for Hill have all been disconnected or forwarded into oblivion. A message for Sprauve was not returned. Dowe has already been tapped to be executive director of the V.I. Port Authority. Williams is facing criminal corruption charges in what may be a protracted court case.

White’s letter says he will open his business Monday and offers consulting service in everything from landscaping to heavy equipment and trucking as well as zoning, legislative matters, lobbying and law enforcement.

Citing his 22 years as a senator, and before that, 20 years as a police officer – culminating with a stint as St. Thomas chief of police – White says in the letter that “the relationships fostered, experiences garnered, and vast amount of knowledge acquired has duly prepared me to lead this new firm.”

Acknowledging that he has limited expertise in some areas, such as construction, White said he can pull on his other strengths of “applying sense (and) getting the job done.. . I have seen the gamut of just about everything around here … I can point the way to who you should be looking at” for things like construction.

White is counting on his grassroots approach to politics to make him a successful gubernatorial candidate, boasting a “masters in common sense and a Ph.D. in street sense.”

Attesting to his political aplomb, White said he was majority leader in the Legislature a record five times and his colleagues recognized his expertise with housing issues, repeatedly making him chair of the Housing Committee even when he wasn’t in the majority.

He is also well known for his comic antics, a skill that he uses to take the edge off controversial issues and avoid bitter legislative fights. But, he says, if people laugh, that doesn’t make him a clown.

He rattled off a list of people rumored to be preparing gubernatorial bids. All of them are Democrats and will have to duke it out in a primary, while White has always run as an Independent.

“I only have to run against one person,” he said. “They have to go through the washer and the dryer … I’ll concentrate on that person” who emerges. “So who’s the smartest guy?”

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