March 28, 2003 Former Delegate to Congress Ron de Lugo will have the Federal Building on St. Thomas named in his honor, Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen announced Wednesday.
A May 30 ceremony at the building will make the name change official.
Christiansen said, "It's fitting that we honor former Delegate de Lugo in this manner, as he was at the forefront of the political, economic and social development of the territory for the better part of the 20th century."
De Lugo's career in Washington, D.C., spans decades. In 1968, he was elected as the territory's first representative. Christiansen said that sending a representative to Washington represented a great step forward in the territory's political development.
In 1972, the office was upgraded to that of delegate to Congress. De Lugo served in that capacity until he left to run unsuccessfully for governor in 1978. He returned to Congress in 1980, where he stayed until he retired in 1994.
Christiansen said that de Lugo fought to increase rights and privileges for territorial delegates and left his mark on territorial political development. Calling de Lugo a consensus builder, she said he worked endlessly for full political status for the Virgin Islands.
In 1987, his seniority gave him the opportunity to serve as chairman of the subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs. This committee has great influence over territorial affairs.
One of his most important accomplishments as chairman of this committee came when Congress passed a law allowing territories to receive the same Federal Emergency Management Agency benefits as the states.
His other accomplishments included the implementation of the Compact of Free Association for the former Trust Territory of Palau. This allowed the islands to become the Republic of Palau on Oct. 1, 1984.
De Lugo also oversaw crucial status legislation for Puerto Rico, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Christiansen said that de Lugo also was at the forefront of successful efforts for Virgin Islands residents to gain greater control of their own destinies.
He worked hard to find funding for the territory's infrastructure improvements, to preserve its natural assets and to give the territories equal treatment under various federal programs.
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