June 21, 2006 — Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards and running mate Roy D. Jackson announced their candidacy for governor and lieutenant governor Tuesday at Gertrude's restaurant on St. Croix.
In front of an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 250, which included Gov. Charles Turnbull, Richards proclaimed that he had been a proud, loyal Democrat for over 30 years and had served the people of the Virgin Islands as a teacher, labor leader, senator and now as a lieutenant governor.
"I understand the needs of the people of the Virgin Islands. Over a career in public service I have fought to protect our government workers and pushed to reward them accordingly," Richards said.
Richards named the four major points of his candidacy: systemic change, reforming the educational system, confronting the crisis with youth and crime, and continuing the momentum of economic development and investment.
"My administration will start significantly by increasing the commitment to schools and young people, generating the requisite funds to further increase teacher salaries, improving and increasing staff development and training, implementing state-of-the-art computer applications for driving efficient accountability and instituting comprehensive systems with renovation and construction plans," he said.
Jackson informed the gathering of his long tenure in volunteer service to the V.I. community and of his professional qualifications. In addition to being the proprietor of Roy D. Jackson and Associates, an accounting firm, he has also been an adjunct assistant professor at the University of the Virgin Islands and was the first president and chief executive officer of the Government Development Bank.
Jackson's community involvement includes service as a Rotarian, on the V.I. Board of Public Accountancy, the Public Finance Authority, the West Indian Co. Ltd. and as a UVI trustee.
"I am a good listener and provide a fair hearing to all perspectives of an issue. I am not afraid to make tough decisions and stand by my convictions, even in the face of criticism," Jackson said. "In fact, I have always welcomed constructive criticism when offered in a fair and balanced manner."
Other planks in the Richards-Jackson platform included exchanging property with the National Park Service to expand the Julius Sprauve School; the implementation of a comprehensive school Physical Plant Unit; re-establishing the Youth Affairs Division to develop policies to address the plight of young people; and providing more opportunities for young people.
"Carrying out the governor's mandate when we were elected in 2002, I continue to work tirelessly to bring sound investment and employment opportunities to the Virgin Islands, particularly St. Croix," Richards said. "Today I stand before you with pride, justifiable pride that we have accomplished much of that vision."
The announcement that the Richards-Jackson team was running under the Democratic banner ensures that there will be a Democratic primary. Last night's event was the fourth announcement overall for persons seeking to move into Government House in 2007.
Kenneth Mapp, with his running mate Almando "Rocky" Liburd was first. He was followed by John P. deJongh Jr., who is running as a Democrat along with former St. Croix Administrator Greg Francis. Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg also announced his intentions to run in the gubernatorial election but did not name a running mate. Donastorg and Mapp are both running as Independents.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.