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HomeNewsArchivesDemocratic Candidates Urge Voters to 'Push the Donkey' in November

Democratic Candidates Urge Voters to 'Push the Donkey' in November

Oct. 18, 2006 — "Together we can, we must and we will." That was the slogan echoed by senators and senatorial hopefuls during Wednesday's Democratic Party press conference at the Hibiscus Beach Resort in Christiansted. The candidates, joined by Delegate Donna M. Christensen and gubernatorial candidate John deJongh, outlined their platform for 2007.
Sounding more like a political rally than a press conference, Wednesday's event featured both incumbents and new candidates taking turns at the podium to extol the party's accomplishments.
The event's moderator, Sen. Roosevelt C. David, said the party must continue to build. "We cannot afford to regress," David said, "we must go forward." David, a five-term senator from the St. Thomas/St. John district, announced in August he would not seek re-election.
During his remarks, DeJongh assured fellow party members that there will be cohesion between both branches of government. "We need to make sure the people of the Virgin Islands know that when they look at the Democratic Party, they are looking at individuals that care about them tremendously."
The enthused group of Democrats spoke on a variety of subjects — from health care to education and even parking issues.
Sen. Craig W. Barshinger, after wholeheartedly endorsing the entire team of candidates, focused on St. John's traffic congestion. He said one of his goals is to make the streets of that island less congested by tackling the parking problem. "We have raised almost $4 million to address the parking problems in St. John," he said. "Because of Democratic leadership, Cruz Bay will be reformed by a multilevel parking lot."
Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone, the top vote getter in the St. Thomas/St. John district, introduced a Caribbean perspective to the event. He said that, given Panama's control of the canal and the end of the Cold War, the V.I. government needed to start redefining its role in the Caribbean. "We need to start trading with other islands in the Caribbean."
Malone also pointed to the party's contribution in improving the government's finances. "Ten years ago the government was on the verge of bankruptcy, now we are swimming in a surplus," he said. Referring to that same surplus, Sen. Neville James later added, "People were shocked that the V.I. could generate over $835 million in revenue."
"Living out the American dream is what the Democratic Party stands for," said Horace Brooks, who, if elected, would be the youngest senator in the new Legislature.
"The Party has left a legacy of accomplishments," said State Democratic Party Chair Cecil Benjamin, as he urged voters to secure a clean Democratic sweep and "push the donkey."
Others present for the event included: Sens. Louis Patrick Hill, Ronald E. Russell, and Juan Figueroa-Serville; and senatorial hopefuls Rev. Toi Barbel, Wayne James, Basil Ottley, Luther Renee, Patrick Simeon Sprauve, Michael Thurland and Jimi Weber.
The event was simulcast on both WDHP-AM (St. Croix) and WSTA-AM (St. Thomas).
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