April 26, 2002 – Look for the Federal Building on St. Thomas to have a name in the not-too-distant future. Delegate Donna Christian Christensen's bill to name the peach-and-cream structure on the waterfront for her predecessor Ron de Lugo was approved in the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday.
Christensen said in a release Friday that she expects the full Senate to pass the bill, which already has cleared the House, in the coming weeks, and President Bush to sign it into law shortly thereafter.
"Ron has been at the forefront of all our successful efforts to win greater control of our destiny in the Virgin Islands throughout his political career," Christensen said in the release.
She said it is fitting that the bill to honor his contributions is about to become law as St. Thomas celebrates its 50th Carnival anniversary. In addition to his distinguished congressional career, de Lugo was at the forefront of the 1952 movement to bring Carnival back to the island. There has been Carnival celebrations on St. Thomas for a few years before World War I, but de Lugo's efforts brought it back as the event observed annually ever since.
De Lugo was the territory's first delegate to Congress, serving 10 terms that started in 1973 and continued until he retired in 1995 except for one break when he ran unsuccessfully for governor instead of delegate.
Born on Aug. 1, 1930, in Englewood, N.J., de Lugo moved to St. Thomas as a child. He attended Sts. Peter and Paul School in St. Thomas and Colegio San Jose in Puerto Rico. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1948 to 1950, he returned to St. Thomas to work as a radio announcer, where he adopted the on-air name Mango Jones.
He began his political career in 1956 when he was first elected to the Legislature, where he initially served until 1960. He was the St. Croix administrator from April 1961 to August 1962, then returned to the Legislature from 1963 to 1966. In 1968 he became the territory's representative in Washington, where for the next four years he fought to get the Virgin Islands its own delegate to the House of Representatives. Successful in that regard, he was the first to hold the position. Only three others have done so since.
De Lugo unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1979, but lost to Juan Luis. Former Gov. Melvin Evans filled the congressional seat, but de Lugo defeated him in the next election and returned to Washington. The former delegate, who is a special guest at the 50th anniversary Carnival celebration, could not be reached for comment.
Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.