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HomeNewsArchivesFYI: Dr. Christian Is First Woman to Run for Lt. Gov.

FYI: Dr. Christian Is First Woman to Run for Lt. Gov.

Aug. 27, 2006 – Dr. Cora Christian was the first Virgin Islands native woman to become a medical doctor and she hopes to make history again as the first woman to serve in Government House.
Dr. Christian is running for Lt. Governor alongside gubernatorial candidate Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg.
Dr. Christian, who has most recently worked as a family physician, assistant Commissioner of Health and the Medical Director for the hemisphere's largest oil refinery, has never been afraid to take on a challenge.
Her parents instilled in her both a strong work ethic and a commitment to public service.
"My personal credo has always been, 'I care and I can,'" she said. "This is why I decided to enter the political arena."
Dr. Christian, whose family comes from Frederiksted, had many opportunities available to her, but wanted to serve St. Croix.
"I knew the need was in Frederiksted where there was
not even one full-time doctor at the time," she said.
The next barrier she faced was the lack of a clinic to treat patients.
"I was successful in developing the Frederiksted Health Center, now dedicated to Lawrence Bastian," said Dr. Christian. "I went on to found the Virgin Islands Medical Institute in 1997, which has brought millions of dollars into the Territory for the improvement of health care."
After many years of serving as a doctor, administrator and a health care educator, Dr. Christian came to the conclusion that in order to make real change in the Virgin Islands she would have to take on a greater leadership role.
In 2002 Dr. Christian made a bid for the office of Governor. Many people have asked her why then would she take on what some consider a secondary role in the 2006 elections.
"For me, it has never been about the title, but about the work. I can think of no better partner for this work than Senator Donastorg," she said. "He is, without question, the Territory's most forward-thinking and courageous political leader. Our views on environmental issues and the need for greater transparency and accountability in Government are very similar. But, most importantly, he and I share the same sense of commitment to making life better for the islands and the people we love."
Christian and Donastorg have agreed that she will not serve as a traditional Lt. Governor. Her duties will be expanded to include direct oversight of the departments of Health, Human Services and Education.
"I have a great deal of experience in these areas," she said. "And in the case of Education we are truly in crisis and need a leader in the trenches to get things back on track. Our children are not failing, but our schools are failing our children. Healing our troubled schools will be my first priority. I will get the job done — I do not accept excuses and I demand excellence."
Her expanded role as Lt. Governor is one of the many things that set the Donastorg/Christian Team apart, she said.
"Of course, having a woman on the ticket also sets our team apart," she said. "I think it is long past time that we had a woman in Government House, especially given the number of households headed by women and the many crucial roles we play in our community."
Christian said that as a working mother of two children she understands first hand the challenges V.I. women face on a daily basis.
"I want to see a Government that is much more responsive to the needs of women in general, and working mothers in particular," she said. "We need to create viable after-school programs at every campus, we must consider flex time for working parents when appropriate and we must provide increased health and mental health care services for women."
Christian said that she would also see that laws were enforced allowing parents time off to visit classrooms when necessary.
"There are many other small things we can do to make life better for working mothers and all the women of this Territory," she said. "I plan to make history as the first woman to serve in Government House and I will use this opportunity to improve conditions for all women in any way I can."
Christian said she has many specific ideas for a true revitalization of the economy, creating jobs and improving Government services. She said that details of the Donastorg/Christian platform would be released following the primary elections.
Christian is married to Simon Jones-Hendrickson, a University of the Virgin Islands Professor and the former Ambassador from St. Kitts & Nevis to Caricom. They have two children, Nesha, who is in law school and Marcus, now a junior in college.
She has served as President of the Caribbean Studies Association and has done a great deal of work serving in health care and education throughout the region.
"I do not consider myself just a Virgin Islands woman, but a Caribbean woman," she said. "We share so much in common as Caribbean people and I would like to see us do more as a Territory to exchange information and ideas with our neighbors. We can not afford to be insular in a global economy."
Christian said she abhors the divisiveness that seemed to be part of the election process.
"The Donastorg/Christian Team represents all Virgin Islanders," she said. "Together we have pledged to work for all the citizens of this Territory no matter what their birthplace, party affiliation, first language, economic status or ethnic background. We are the candidates of inclusion and unity."
Christian said that they have based their candidacy on the idea that the people of the Virgin Islands deserve better.
"Better schools, better roads, better health care, better parks, better Government services," she said. "We are the candidates that will bring better leadership so that we may achieve these things."

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