One day after the senatorial elections, at least one winner was positioning himself to head an important legislative committee.
Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, the top vote getter in the St. Thomas-St. John district, said he wants to chair the committee that controls the governments purse strings during the 24th Legislature.
"I havent received any calls to try and organize the Legislature," Donastorg told WSTX radio, adding that most senators who won seats Tuesday took Wednesday off.
Donastorg, however, said he was already looking ahead to the next session.
"I know exactly what I have my eye on," he said. "I would like to chair the Finance Committee."
Donastorg has chaired the Senate Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection for three terms. He also spurred a larger effort to reorganize the Senate, a referendum voters throughout the territory overwhelmingly supported Tuesday.
The referendum to reduce the size of the 15-member Senate passed by 14,949 to 2,120. Of those in favor of the reduction, 12,589 wanted to see the number of senators reduced to nine; 2,826 preferred 11 senators.
Donastorg maintains that reducing the Legislature from 15 to nine will senators save the V.I. government as much as $12 million per term.
In a statement Wednesday, Donastorg said he will introduce the legislation necessary to enact the change after consulting with the V.I. Board of Elections and the Legislatures legal counsel. Congress recently amended the Revised Organic Act to allow local legislators to determine the size of the V.I. Legislature. The bill must now be signed by President Clinton.
"This is a legitimate means to reduce government spending and once implemented in 2003 will save us millions of dollars each year," Donastorg said. "This legislation will mandate that the Senates reduction be accompanied by a budget cut of at least 25 percent with those savings directed towards specific areas of concern."