Nov. 5, 2002 – After sweeping the delegate to Congress election on Tuesday, incumbent Donna M. Christensen said from her campaign headquarters in Frederiksted with exasperation in her voice, "I'm glad it's over."
But she went on to say that she looks forward to getting back to work in the nation's capital. Christensen, seeking her fourth two-year term, collected more than two-thirds of the votes, for which she said she owes the people of the territory.
"I 'm really grateful for their vote of confidence," Christensen said.
The unofficial vote tallies in the delegate race — with absentee votes to be added later — were:
Christensen (Democrat) — 19,484.
Virdin C. Brown (ICM) — 4,321.
Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal (Republican) — 4,163.
Garry A. Sprauve (independent) — 953.
Now that the campaign is over, Christensen said, there are several things she intends to continue to pursue in Washington, D.C., including raising the cap on Medicaid benefits to residents and improving Social Security insurance.
She also said the territory's underwater national monuments will soon become an issue again, referring to President Bill Clinton's establishment during his last days in office of over 30,000 acres of submerged lands off St. John and St. Croix as protected waters. While conservationists hailed the move, local fishermen and other stakeholders were outraged at it, and Christensen said she is working to reverse the former president's executive order.
As a Democrat, Christensen said, she disagrees with Republicans on many issues but has managed to work well with the George W. Bush administration over the last two years and expects that working relationship to continue.
However, on the national scene, it appeared late Tuesday night that Republicans had regained control of the Senate and retained control of the House of Representatives. Christensen held tight to party lines when asked for comment on the apparent change in power. "I think it's going to be bad for the country," she said. "It will certainly make things more difficult."
But she added that she does not think a Republican candidate — referring to challenger Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal — would be able to do any better in Washington for the territory than she can. She noted that she will maintain her seniority as the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands.
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