Jan. 7, 2003 – Delegate Donna M. Christensen was sworn in for her fourth term as the Virgin Islands' representative Tuesday when the 108th Congress convened in the House of Representatives Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Christensen said she begins her new term acutely aware of "the new challenges that we face" on both the national and territorial levels. "When we consider the state of the local and national economy, the need to make sure that all Americans have access to health care, the need to ensure that quality education becomes a reality for all children, the issues surrounding our national security and the impending clouds of war, it is apparent that these are indeed serious times," she said in a release.
Later Tuesday, Christensen also expressed concern, in a telephone interview, about the controversial raises approved by Virgin Islands legislators for themselves, the governor and the lieutenant governor, and also about the police crackdown on demonstrators protesting the raises at the inaugural ceremony for Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards Monday on St. Thomas.
For a report of those comments, see "Concerns raised about response to protests".
In her release, Christensen reiterated her commitment "to serve my constituents in the areas of economic development, housing, health care, education, environmental protection, public safety, homeland security and the unforeseen challenges that rise up on occasion to meet us."
Christensen had said earlier that she would not be able to attend any inaugural events in the territory because of her need to be in the nation's capital this week. Prior to the opening session of the new Congress, she attended a ceremonial gathering of the Congressional Black Caucus where retiring members were bid farewell and new ones were welcomed. The caucus has grown in membership in the 108th Congress, she said, and "re-affirmed its commitment to being the conscience of the Congress with health care, education, economic development and national security at the core of its agenda."
The delegate said she is looking forward to working with all of her old and new colleagues, but especially Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the new chair of the CBC; and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), the House Democratic leader. "Both have the vision and the energy needed to move the issues that the majority of Americans and Virgin Islanders care about," she said.
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