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Mark Hodge Seeks to be Convention Delegate

May 26, 2007 – Good Day! My name is Mark Hodge, and I’m seeking your vote for Delegate to the Constitutional Convention in the St. Thomas/St. John District. I was born and raised here on St. Thomas by my parents, Maria and Lawrence Hodge. My father, Larry, is the son of the late Idaliah Stout-Richards, better known as “Ms. Dolly”.
In 1996, I graduated Amherst College in Massachusetts with English and Political Science majors. In 2001, I graduated Georgetown University Law Center. I have since been admitted to practice law before the courts of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. I have worked at the Offices of the U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General and at the Superior Court of Washington, DC. I am now President-Elect for the U.S. Virgin Islands Bar Association.
I have also worked with or at the Offices of the Delegate to Congress for Washington, DC and the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee. I am currently Legal Counsel for our Democratic Party Territorial Committee and Treasurer for our Democratic Party St. Thomas District.
My agenda for the Constitutional Convention is twofold. I want the Constitutional Convention to generate a Constitution of which I can be proud, and I want that Constitution to be approved by the people. Unfortunately, this is a difficult balance because popularity alone does not make a Constitutional provision wise or just. It is important to remain objective regarding these different proposals, viewing them clearly with our eyes firmly fixed on that which is just and that which may derail the entire Constitution.
Within that overall framework, I have specific goals I would like to achieve and issues I would like to explore if elected. These goals and issues are many and varied (including a possible Local “CFO”, Eliminating “Legislative Preemption”, Better Procedure for Increases to Salary and Benefits for Elected Officials, etc.)
In particular, the need for Electoral Reform cannot be ignored. Our electoral system is fundamentally flawed. Every two years, candidates run for seven Senate seats in St. Thomas (as in St. Croix). However, because those seven seats go to the candidates with the seven highest vote totals regardless of party affiliation, all those candidates must campaign forcefully against one another for every vote.
Even after we have our seven elected Senators, the problem continues. Every one of those Senators must look at one another knowing that they will again be fighting for the same votes two years later. In short, there never comes a point at which our Senators can genuinely be called “colleagues” because they remain campaign opponents year round. If we are to create a Legislature where the members of that body can cooperate as colleagues rather than be forced to consider every approach from another Senator as a potential scheme to “steal” their votes, we must implement Electoral Reform. It will finally provide our Senators the freedom to more completely focus upon cooperation and doing the people’s business.
Please come out and vote!

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