Home News Local news Senate Announces New 'People's Majority,' Committee Chairs

Senate Announces New 'People's Majority,' Committee Chairs

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Dec. 5, 2006 — The "People's Majority" of the 27th Legislature was formed Tuesday with a nine-member coalition of Independent Citizens Movement (ICM), Democrat and unaffiliated senators and senators-elect.
The announcement was made at a press conference at the Cormorant Beach Hotel in La Grande Princess, St. Croix. Majority Leader, Sen. Celestino White Sr., served as master of ceremonies, introducing each member of the new majority — all dressed in matching dark suits with gold accents — who will take the oath of office in January.
As the incoming chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Terrence Nelson vowed that the Post Audit Division, of which he has oversight, will "assert broad authority." Nelson, a member of the ICM, urged senators to "get on the glory train," saying that as the territory's investments grow "there is a glimmer of hope." Nelson will be serving his second term as senator in the next legislature.
Former Commissioner of Education-turned senator, Liston Davis expressed his confidence in the new majority. "We will hold the anchor," he said. Davis, also an ICM party member, said the job of his committee is to be "the watchdog" and to guide the system. He pointed to enhancing student achievement and training students to take their rightful place in the community. "We will be the drum majors for change," Davis said.
As the youngest member of the incoming Senate, 28-year-old Sen.-elect Alvin Williams will chair the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection. Williams, a registered Democrat, said he was elected by "a combined electorate of Democrats, ICM and no party [i.e., unaffiliated] voters," adding, "I am a Democrat; my first loyalty is to the people. I will not be loyal to any symbol or special-interest group." Williams said, don't "judge me on personality issues but judge me on my record." He said his committee will concentrate on solid waste issues and planned development.
Sen.-elect Carlton Dowe will chair the Rules and Judiciary Committee. Dowe, an independent, narrowly lost re-election for a third term in the Senate in 2004 and was re-elected to the 27th Legislature. Dowe sent a message to the governor, saying all nominees will be hastily "voted up or down" when sent to his committee. "No longer will stagnation be a part of the Rules Committee," he said.
The only woman elected to the new Legislature, Sen.-elect-at-Large Carmen Wesselhoft will head the Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice Committee. "I chose that committee," the ICM-affiliated Wesselfhoft said. "I love a challenge." Wesselhoft said she would work toward a state-of-the-art police academy, a forensics lab, a home for K-9 officers and an indoor police shooting range.
Sen. White, also an ICM member, will again head the Housing and Sports committee, an assignment he has taken on several times during his 18 years in the Legislature. White said he is satisfied with the progress in housing, but that "there is still more work to be done."
Freshman Sen.-elect James Weber III will head the Economic Development and Agriculture Committee. Weber, a Democrat from St. Croix who is the grandson of Christiansted ball field namesake Dr. David C. Canegata, asked the electorate to "trust my judgment and bear with me for the next 700 days."
Chairing the Government Operations and Consumer Protection Committee will be Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone, who chaired this committee during his freshman term. The Democrat indicated the committee has oversight over Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Property and Procurement, WAPA, the Public Services Commission, the Law Revision Commission and the islands' three administrators. Named vice president for the 27th Legislature, Malone urged the incoming governor to "pick a manager" to head the various departments instead of a professional in each field.
Newly chosen Senate President Usie Richards told attendees he was affiliated with the majority because it was "a people's majority united in purpose, commitment and vision." He said the combined objectives of serving the people "far outweigh the labels of ICM, Democrat or Republican parties." He assured residents the interests of St. Croix would still come first. "We are Crucians," he said. "Our No. 1 priority remains and will be the economic growth, development and diversification of the island of St. Croix."
Here is the list of officers, committee chairs and members:
Officers of the 27th Legislature
President — Usie Raymond Richards
Vice President — Shawn-Michael Malone
Legislative Secretary — James Weber III
Majority Leader — Celestino White Sr.
Secretary for Intergovernmental and Territorial Affairs Terrence Nelson
Liaison to the White House — Carlton Dowe
Liaison to the U.S. Congress Alvin Williams
Liaison to the Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs — Carmen Wesselhoft
Planning and Environmental Protection Committee
Alvin Williams, chair
Celestino White Sr., vice chair
Carlton Dowe
Juan Figueroa-Serville
Usie Raymond Richards
James Weber III
Economic Development and Agriculture Committee
James Weber III, chair
Terrence Nelson, vice chair
Ronald E. Russell
Norman Jn Baptiste
Basil Ottley
Celestino A. White Sr.

Education and Cultural Affairs Committee
Liston Davis, chair
Shawn-Michael Malone, vice chair
Carlton Dowe
Norman Jn Baptiste
Louis P. Hill
Neville A. James
Terrence Nelson

Finance Committee
Terrence Nelson, chair
Liston Davis, vice chair
Carlton Dowe
Juan Figueroa-Serville
Neville James
Ronald E. Russell
James Weber III

Government Operation and Consumer Protection Committee
Shawn-Michael Malone, chair
Alvin Williams, vice chair
Liston Davis
Juan Figueroa-Serville
Carlton Dowe
Terrence Nelson
Basil Ottley

Housing and Sports Committee
Celestino White Sr., chair
Carmen Wesselhoft, vice chair
Louis P. Hill
Neville James
Shawn-Michael Malone
Usie Raymond Richards
Alvin Williams

Public Safety, Homeland Security and Justice Committee
Carmen Wesselhoft, chair
Carlton Dowe, vice chair
Liston A. Davis
Norman Jn Baptiste
Ronald E. Russell
Celestino A. White Sr.
Alvin Williams

Rules and Judiciary Committee
Carlton Dowe, chair
James Weber III, vice chair
Shawn-Michael Malone
Usie Raymond Richards
Celestino A. White Sr.
Alvin Williams

The makeup of the Labor and Health, and Hospitals and Human Services committees were not announced.
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