Eight individuals were elected for the first time as senator in the U.S. Virgin Islands, four from the St. Croix District, three from the St. Thomas-St. John District, and one At-Large senator, according to Tuesday’s General Election results.
The results are a rarity; it is not often that voters put so many new people in office, and there has been concern that the learning curve that comes with being in the Senate will lead to a slow start.
Nonetheless, many of the new senators have vowed to hit the ground running, promising to introduce legislation to enhance everything from education to healthcare, and the beleaguered Government Employees’ Retirement System.
Below, the new senators from the St. Croix District:
Alicia Barnes | Ms. Barnes was the strongest amongst her peers, repeating her primary election dominance by coming out atop in the general election with a total of 7,310 votes, or 12.45 percent, according to Tuesday’s results.
Allison DeGazon | Ms. DeGazon ran a nonstop campaign with event after event, and was deemed one of the hardest working candidates this year. Her efforts paid off, as she came in second place with slightly less votes than Ms. Barnes: 7,266, or 12.38 percent of the votes.
Javan James | The youngest person to be elected this year, Mr. James, at 31, also ran a successful campaign, fusing tireless canvassing with a brilliant social media strategy — as well as being at seemingly all major and not so major events on St. Croix — to build a ubiquity that galvanized his support. He came in fourth place, just under Senator Kurt Vialet with 5,309 votes, or 9.04 percent.
Oakland Benta | Mr. Benta is a well-known figure in the community, having served as a former police chief. He placed 7th with 4,110 votes, according to Tuesday’s results.
Also elected in the St. Croix District was Kenneth Gittens, a former senator who lost during the 2016 Senate race.
Below, the new Senators from the St. Thomas-St. John District:
Donna Frett Gregory | Running a masterful campaign, Mrs. Gregory, a former Department of Education commissioner and chief financial officer at the V.I. Port Authority, garnered the most support on Tuesday, ending with 6,592 votes.
Athneil Thomas | As another well-known St. Thomian, Mr. Thomas came in third place with 5,391 ballots cast in his favor, or 8.58 percent. He has served on the VI Carnival committee and a number of other such organizations, and worked in the Legislature for 24 years.
Stedmann Hodge Jr. | Mr. Hodge came in fifth place. He too is a known figure in St. Thomas, and has served in the VI National Guard, the Department of Labor, and the Schneider Regional Medical Center, according to information found on Mr. Hodge’s “About” page on Facebook.
In the At-Large race, Steven D. Payne, Sr., was elected with a total of 7,954 votes.