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HomeNewsArchivesDems Choose Patrick Simeon-Sprauve to Replace Ottley in Senate

Dems Choose Patrick Simeon-Sprauve to Replace Ottley in Senate

Sept. 23, 2008 — Following the lead of the St. Thomas-St. John Democratic Party Territorial Committee, on Tuesday evening the V.I. Democratic Party chose Patrick Simeon-Sprauve to take the seat of Sen. Basil Ottley Jr. for the remainder of his term.
Ottley is moving to the federal government for a position with the Department of Interior's Office of Insular Affairs as the primary policy analyst for the U.S. Virgin Islands. (See "Sprauve Gets Boost in Bid to Serve Out Ottley's Term.")
"This was such a unique and important opportunity for the Virgin Islands that I could not turn the position down," Ottley said when he announced the move in August. "This is the first time a Virgin Islander will hold a position like this. Having someone inside will benefit the territory for years to come."
The party met by video conference at the University of the Virgin Islands campuses in both districts.
Horace Brooks, who came just shy of beating Sen. Alvin L. Williams for a seat in the 27th Legislature, made the same argument he made to the St. Thoms-St. John committee: As the next-highest vote getter in the 2006 election, it would be logical and fair for him to take the position.
"The only argument I've heard used against me is the fact that I am not running in this year's election," he said. "But I must stress this is not about the election or a seat in the 28th Legislature. It is about the 27th, and I received approximately 5,000 votes in that election. … the people are going to remember when we had a chance to honor their votes, but didn't."
Sprauve, who is also running for a seat in the 28th Legislature, said his educational background and experience leave him "ready to take up the challenge." He serves as fiscal administrator for the STD/HIV program in the V.I. Health Department, formerly served as executive director of the Legislature and previously ran for Senate. A financial analyst by trade, Sprauve is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia.
The territorial committee voted 29 to 1 for Sprauve, with three abstentions. The St. Croix committee followed the lead of the St. Thomas-St. John Committee, which previously endorsed Sprauve.
"I believe Horace Brooks' future is bright within this party, and I want to defend him and his right to come in and defend his claim," said Glen Smith of St. Thomas before voting for Sprauve.
State Democratic Party Chairman Cecil Benjamin praised both potential senators.
"I said from the beginning: We have two exemplary persons here who are very well-qualified, well-experienced and who have both exhibited a great deal of dedication to the party," he said.
Under V.I. code, when a senator leaves office less than a year before the election the president of the Legislature appoints a replacement chosen by the territorial committee of the senator's party — in this case the Democratic Party. Had Ottley not been a member of a party, the Legislature would have selected someone from the St. Thomas-St. John district, and had he resigned more than a year before the election, there would have been a special election.
Benjamin now takes Sprauve's name to Senate President Usie Richards, who will formally install Sprauve.
"This has only happened once before, on St. Croix with Ruby Rouss," Benjamin said. "This is the first time it's ever happened with St. Thomas, so it is making history."
Rouss passed away in 1988 while in office.
Ottley's resignation is effective Friday. Sprauve will become a senator immediately, but will presumably begin working Monday, Benjamin said.
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