Christensen re-elected in landslide

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Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen secured her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives with a landslide victory Tuesday.

“I am humbled, I’m grateful, and I’m ready to go back to work,” she said Tuesday night.

With 71 percent of the vote, Christensen took first place among four candidates vying for the territory’s only federal office. She brought in 18,584 votes, according to the unofficial election results.

St. Croix attorney and independent candidate Jeffrey Moorhead came in second place with 4,880 votes, Republican candidate Vincent Danet came in third with 2,223 votes, and independent Guillaume Mimoun came in fourth with 397 votes.

When Christensen — a Democrat — begins her eighth term in Congress, the political landscape will be very different. In the midterm election, the Republicans have taken back control of the House.

“I am going back to a much more difficult environment to get anything done,” she said. “We’re just going to work hard and plug away.”

Nonetheless, Christensen said, there are two key areas she will focus on: keeping the territory’s rum revenues coming to the Virgin Islands and ensuring the territory is included in the nation’s health care reforms.

“That’s really at the forefront of the issues,” she said about the fight to preserve rum revenues.

“I’m grateful to the people of the territory for following what we are doing, supporting what I am doing, and realizing that I am always honest and forthright with them, no matter what the issue is,” Christensen said.

Challengers to Christensen’s seat did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

Like every other member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the delegate serves a two-year term. There is no limit on the number of terms that members of Congress can serve. The delegate can sponsor legislation, speak on the floor and participate and vote in committees. However, because the Virgin Islands is a territory, not a state, the V.I. delegate does not have a vote on the House floor.

The V.I. delegate to Congress is paid the same salary as any other member of Congress — $174,000 a year, which is paid from federal tax dollars, not local money.

The 2010 budget for the delegate’s office is $1,419,973. It covers payroll, rent, utilities, equipment, supplies, travel and other expenses. The budget also comes from federal funds and is not included in the local government’s budget appropriation.


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