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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Making the Numbers Work

Dear Source:
Although I agree with both Paul Devine and George Hollander that the number of Virgin Islands legislators should be decreased, I do not think this can be accomplished while reserving a legislative seat for St. John and ensuring political equity on the other islands. Rather than an island or land mass, population is the basis of a legislative district or sub-district. Allowing one legislator to be elected exclusively from St. John combined with reducing the size of the legislature would effectively result in relatively "under-represented" populations on St. Croix and St. Thomas. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2000, the VI population was distributed among the islands as follows: St. Croix with 53,234; St. Thomas with 51,181; and St. John with 4,197. If one legislator is elected from St. John, she or he would represent 4,197 residents. Reserving one legislative seat for St. John and allowing for political equity on the other islands would require that St. Croix elect 13 (53,234/4,197) and St. Thomas elect 12 (51,181/4,197) legislators, resulting in a much larger 26-member legislature. Therefore, reducing the size of the current legislature, allowing for sub-districts, and ensuring political equity would require that St. John be combined with a legislative sub-district on St. Thomas or St. Croix.

Marvin A. Titus
Raleigh, N.C./St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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