Delegate to Congress is the Virgin Islands' link to Washington Lt. governor's job description


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Delegate to Congress is the territory's eyes, ears, voice and official protector and promoter in Washington, D.C.

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, but they must stand for re-election every two years.

The Virgin Islands has had congressional representation since 1972. 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 delegate's job is to:

- Sponsor and co-sponsor federal laws to benefit the Virgin Islands.

- Ensure that the territory is included in U.S. government-sponsored programs.

- Obtain federal funding for Virgin Islands programs.

- Represent the territory with federal agencies.

- Intercede on behalf of the territory in federal operations that concern the territory.

The delegate's job and authority do not extend to territorial issues in which there is no federal involvement.

The V.I. delegate to Congress is paid the same sala-ry as any other member of Congress-$174,000 a year. The delegate is paid from fed-eral tax revenues, not V.I. money.

To be eligible to run for delegate to Congress, a candidate must be at least 25 years old on the date of election, have been a United States citizen for at least seven years before the date of the election, be a Virgin Islands resident and not be a candidate for any other office.

The lieutenant governor has specific duties, and according to the V.I. Code and Revised Organic Act of 1954 is responsible for a variety of government functions. Those include:

- Recorder of Deeds Office - records all property deeds, mortgages, personal liens, tax liens, and other miscellaneous documents against individuals and property owners.

- Corporations and Trademarks Office - registers all corporate filings in the Virgin Islands.

- Real Property Tax and Cadastral Operations -determines the value of V.I. property so the government knows how much to charge in property taxes. The Tax Assessor is required by law to reassess all commercial property subject to taxation in the Virgin Islands every year.

- Banking and Insurance Division - Banking Board issues local licenses to banks operating in the territory, regulates and supervises domestic and foreign banking and small loan institutions operating in the territory and approves the sales and mergers of banks in the territory. The insurance Commissioner issues licenses to insurance companies and brokers.

- V.I. Passport Acceptance Facility - reviews all applications for U.S. passports filed in the Virgin Islands before sending them to the Passport Agency for final review and determination of eligibility.

- The office of Legal Publications - acquires, distributes and sells all publications necessary to laws, documentation and rules pertaining to the territory.

- Acting governor - The lieutenant governor is next in line for the chief executive's position and becomes acting governor whenever the governor leaves the territory. In this capacity, the lieutenant governor has all of the chief executive's powers.

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