On January 28, former senator and 2018 gubernatorial candidate, Allison ‘Allie’ Petrus’ foray and re-entry into politics took the territory by surprise, when he announced his candidacy at Petrus Plaza, on St. Thomas, but inspiration was never hard to find.
Petrus’ mother instilled in him values of hard work and sacrifice. He cherishes his mother’s example and points to the fire and drive he has which comes from his mom, who supported their family on a $6,000 school crossing guard salary, while she raised them in a two-bedroom apartment at the Oswald Harris public community.
After serving as a St. Thomas senator beginning in 1995, for three terms in the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd Legislatures, Petrus made his mark and earned positions as secretary and minority leader before stepping down to transition to the private sector.
In lockstep with his wife Beverly, who is his best friend, Petrus has a beautiful family, has built an impressive career, and attained measurable success in the private sector on St. Thomas.
Reaping profit through smart work and sweat equity, Petrus has done a great job growing his company to a staff of over 100, and training them to effectively manage his business holdings while he serves as Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands if he wins.
On February 17, Petrus announced his official Democratic Party bid and his selection of St. Croix Senator Sammuel Sanes, as his Lieutenant Governor running mate.
Early birds catch the worms. Petrus and Sanes are getting an early start to present their team’s “All In,” and positive message on a united front.
Petrus’ selection of Senator Sanes is solid from the perspective that Sanes has never lost an election on St. Croix, for the Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is a very likable guy who has proven he can get the job done for Crucian’s, Puerto Rican’s, Latino’s, West Indians, and the continental population across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Since Sanes graduated from Florida Memorial College, and returned to his native St. Croix, he has built bridges in the Legislature, and stayed under the radar. Overall, the team is one to watch, and Sanes is a ‘Steady Eddy.’
A review of the 2014 Board of Elections results indicate nearly the same amount of Democratic candidates are running in the 2018 Primary election on August 4, which will be the first threshold the “#AllInWithPetrus,” team must pass.
The best campaign teams know there is a winning formula that reflects strong strategies of how the candidates can build solidarity among the middle class and the economically disadvantaged, while maintaining support from the business class and financially privileged in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Middle Class Anxiety
Of the key areas, there are multiple sub areas that candidates should be attentive to, particularly because middle class anxiety looms large and could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when considering the future of the U.S. Virgin Islands. On the cusp of the Democratic Primary Election, and the first major and measurable threshold Democratic candidates must pass, the evidence is profound.
If each 2018 Democratic Primary candidate hasn’t already asked and answered this question they must: How can the Democratic Party in the U.S. Virgin Islands that represents the teacher, farmer, laborer, physician, police officer, WAPA lineman, newspaper, radio, and TV employee, property owner, community and civic leader, middle managers, and other unnamed groups—not have met success in the 2014 General Election?
The 2014 Primary and General Election voting results suggests how deeply pervasive middle class anxiety is and has been for years, even decades, and the Issues heightening middle class anxiety make it so:
Numbers do not lie. The Issues that lead to middle class anxiety have engulfed the territory for decades, and the vicious cycle must be broken. An injection of economic development and growth in the private sector will take the burden off the government and reduce its payroll.
One of many viable approaches include reviewing the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For list, determining what top companies are interested in moving their headquarters to the U.S. Virgin Islands, engaging and inviting a short list of candidates, discussing and negotiating mutually beneficial terms and their corporate responsibility, and wholly supporting their seamless entrance and sustainability in America’s Paradise.
With a cradle to grave project plan, which includes a robust learning and development curriculum that trains government employees, they will shift off the government payroll to the private sector, where Fortune 100 Best Companies’ salaries will be more competitive, and include a Total Rewards philosophy based on access to programs that can be tailored to meet the personal health and financial well-being needs of employees and their families, while providing resources and programs to help employees pursue their professional goals.
Attractive Great Place to Work Total Rewards Package
In addition to competitive Medical and Dental Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Short and Long Term Disability Plans, Supplemental Life Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, and a 401(k) Savings Plan, examples of an attractive Great Place to Work Total Rewards Package that should be negotiated between the government and Fortune 100 Best Companies before they legally establish in the U.S. Virgin Islands include:
The Great Place to Work Total Rewards components negotiated between the government and Fortune 100 Best Companies are what will ensure the transition of thousands of government employees off the government payroll and into the private sector, which will take the burden off government coffers. This won’t happen overnight, but a detailed project plan, marketing plan, and phased approach gives the opportunity teeth.
Until that time, middle class anxiety is still the 500 pound elephant in the room that must be addressed by the Democratic Primary, and all candidates.
If the Democratic Party and its Primary candidates can’t find a cure for middle class anxiety and communicate their short and long term plans before the Primary Election, and moving into the General Election on November 6, the Party may render itself obsolete, as the middle class sees no opportunity—only threat to their health, safety, security, and overall well-being.