The longest-serving Delegate to Congress for the U.S. Virgin Islands has been Donna M. Christensen, the former gubernatorial candidate who lost her bid for governor against Kenneth Mapp in a run-off election last November. While the 69-year-old Christensen says she will always be a servant of the territory, she made clear that her days of running for public office are over.
That’s what the former Congresswoman told VI Consortium in a brief interview on Saturday, revealing that she would soon relocate to Washington, D.C. and reside there until retirement, which would lead her back home to St. Croix. The Delegate said she may also pursue an opportunity with the Obama administration while in D.C.
“I’ll probably stick around D.C.,” Delegate Christensen said. “[Obama and I] are discussing whether there is anything that I would like to do, [but] we’ll see. It’s a discussion that’s ongoing.”
She said a part of her reason for moving back to the nation’s capital, where she spent the last 18 years on Capitol Hill, was to be closer to family.
“My children and grandchildren are over there and I usually miss all the birthdays, so I’m going to try to stick around DC for a couple of years before I actually come home and retire,” she added.
Christensen did stress, however, that although she will be residing in District of Columbia, her visits to the territory will be frequent.
“I will be back and forth,” she said, adding, “I’m going up on Thursday and will probably be back for the Agricultural Fair next month.”
Following the recent move by Gov. Mapp to file suit against HOVENSA, moving to seize the property on St. Croix’s south shore after a meeting with the company’s owners failed to produce a compromise, VI Consortium asked the former Delegate how she felt about Mapp’s decision.
“I am hoping that [HOVENSA] responds to the open offer of an amicable negotiation, but the Governor had to take a strong stance,” Christensen said. “You can’t just tell somebody [that] you are taking our money and use it to close down the plant — our money.”
She added: “Give me my money [and] use your money to close it down. And they’re going to declare bankruptcy? The obligation is to protect the people of the territory.”
When asked if she would have taken the same stance as the governor, Christensen said she would, adding that anyone would have done the same.
Regarding her seeking public office in the future, the stateswoman’s answer left no doubt that she would no longer be hitting the campaign trail–at least not for herself.
“I believe [I’m done with politics] because my intention from the very beginning was not to run for the Delegate office again — it was time, obviously, for me to move and let somebody else begin anew. And deciding to run for governor was a total departure from what my original plan was, so I think it’s time for me to spend some time with family and do some other things, always trying to be useful to the community,” Christensen said.
Now two months since the Nov. 18 run-off election, VI Consortium asked the former Congresswoman if she was satisfied with the way her gubernatorial campaign ended.
“No, I would never feel good about not being in office,” Christensen admitted. “I really think that Basil and I had a lot to offer, and we would have preferred to be in a position to bring all of that to the people of the territory. But, the people, having spoken, and things being tough on everybody, we want to hope that this administration would seek to do the same.”
And on Mapp’s performance so far, Christensen said, “I’m going to give everybody a chance. I think he’s capable.”
Image: Ernice Gilbert interviewing then-Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen during the 2014 General Election
Image Credit: Kendall Jones