Having been a delegate to two Constitutional Conventions and a senator in five Legislatures, including being the president of one of them, I would like to express my opinion on the proposed “Reapportionment of the Legislature.”
I think that this is a bad idea.
In the present system, our one at-large senator has to be a resident of the small community of St. John. Having that restriction makes for little competition for the seat, which helps to keep down the cost of running for the position.
Having senators-at-large who could come from any part of the Virgin Islands would result in very competitive elections, forcing the candidates to run very expensive campaigns as they would have to fly back and forth between the islands, pay for many hotel stays and a lot more advertising.
To be a candidate in such a campaign would mean that the candidate would have to be a rich person and spend an enormous amount of time on fundraisers or become beholden to wealthy people who help to finance the campaign. That is not a healthy situation.
Some people who support the reapportionment do so because they are popular only on one part of the island and would, therefore, have a better chance of winning an election, if only the people of that part of the island would be allowed to vote in that election.
If St. Croix had a population of a million people, the proposal would make more sense. St. Croix is already a small community, and to further divide us would only weaken our position in the Legislature.
— Bent Lawaetz lives on St. Croix.