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Sprauve Sworn in to Replace Ottley in Senate

Sept. 29, 2008 — It's time for the territory to resume control of its destiny by working aggressively to resolve issues that have plagued the community for years, such as high utility bills, a lack of affordable housing for families and the rising cost of health-care insurance, according to Patrick Simeon Sprauve.
Sprauve was officially sworn in Monday as the replacement for Sen. Basil Ottley Jr., whose resignation from the Legislature became effective at the end of last week. 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.")
Surrounded by his friends and family members during a ceremony on St. Thomas, Sprauve was showered with accolades by Sen. Celestino A. White Sr., who explained that the territory's newest senator is no stranger to the legislative process.
"Sen. Sprauve was the executive director of the 24th Legislature," White said. "Three is a difference between the administrative part and the legislative part, and Sen. Sprauve had the opportunity during the time he served here to interact with the senators. It was not uncommon to have him visit us on a regular basis — he was probably sizing us up and taking measurements. But we welcome this senator to our ranks. I hope his term will not only be rewarding to us, but to his constituents as well."
Sprauve was overwhelmingly selected by members of the Democratic Party's Territorial Committee to serve out Ottley's term, Senate President Usie R. Richards said later in the ceremony. According to local law, 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.
During a party meeting held last Saturday, the territorial committee voted 29 to 1 for Sprauve, who beat out three other candidates for the position.
"Today is an historic day, a day that destiny has presented to me," Sprauve said Monday, after he was officially sworn in by Chief V.I. Supreme Court Justice Rhys S. Hodge. "Sen. Ottley served us with wisdom and honor, and I am proud to be a relay runner, taking up the torch and crossing the finish line to complete his work. I have the unquestionable desire to devote body, mind and spirit to the people of the Virgin Islands and to lift the economic stress from their shoulders."
Serious challenges continue to rock the territory, he said.
"We must listen and find solutions as our citizens continue to cry out about the LEAC (levelized energy-adjustment clause)," Sprauve said. "We must act with integrity and purpose to give them the relief they need. We want health care — a universal health-care system that is affordable and provides quality service. We need to increase opportunities for young, hard-working families. The time has come to recapture our destiny, to make life better by working together."
Sprauve immediately took up his seat once the ceremony finished, joining other senators in grilling both government and health-insurance experts on a bill renewing the government's group health-care package for fiscal year 2009. The contract will come to a vote during Tuesday's full Senate session.
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