83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesMAJORITY DEFENDS WASHINGTON TRIP

MAJORITY DEFENDS WASHINGTON TRIP

The Senate majority vigorously defended a recent trip to Washington, D.C., at a Monday morning press conference in the Senate chambers.
"This is one of many more trips," said Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd in an opening statement. He also said he was "not dealing" with the issue of expenses for the excursion, which was taken by nine senators. He did say later that "all the senators fly coach."
The purpose of these trips, senators said, would be not only to meet with more of the movers and shakers in Washington, but to testify before the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Liburd said no time had been set, nor had selection been made of who would testify.
As each of the senators spoke, they emphasized how important it was to have a presence in the capital, to "make ourselves known."
One of the main accomplishments, Liburd said, was that the senators hired a lobbying body of its own, the Dutko Group, mainly to help recover the gasoline excise tax from the federal government.
Liburd said several key Virign Island personalities had stepped to the forefront to assist the majority in recovering the gas monies. They are retired Territorial Court Judge Verne Hodge, retired Gen. Sam Ebbesen, former Delegate to Congress Ron de Lugo, former senator Holland Redfield, and Tom Campbell, a St. John homeowner said to have connections with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and new Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
Liburd said the Dutko Group is familiar with the territory. They assisted the administration of former Gov. Roy Schneider in several ways including the return of a larger portion of the rum excise matching tax, getting a larger community disaster loan and bringing back the U.S. Navy to the territory after it was put out of bounds.
He said the senators had met with Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen and informed her of their plans. He didn't elaborate on Christian's reaction. The territory already employs a lobbying group in Washington, Winston and Strawn. Sen. Adelbert Bryan took Winston and Strawn to task and accused them of not accomplishing anything significant.
Liburd noted the group had met with Rep. William Thomas (R-Cal.), head of Ways and Means, in a 20-minute "invitation only" session attended by 60 other politicians where they discussed a five-year tax plan for the territory. Other senators noted brief meetings with various Washington politicians. Sen. Carlton Dowe said he had met for "a few minutes" with Mel Martinez, Housing and Urban Development secretary. Dowe said there was another meeting planned in March in Washington to "bring back dollars to the V.I."
Present at the conference were Sens. Liburd, Dowe, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Celestino White, Norma Pickard Samuel, Adelbert Bryan, Donald "Ducks" Cole and Norman Jn Baptiste. All except White and Jn Baptiste went on the trip, along with minority Sens. David Jones and Vargrave Richards.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,759FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
The Senate majority vigorously defended a recent trip to Washington, D.C., at a Monday morning press conference in the Senate chambers.
"This is one of many more trips," said Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd in an opening statement. He also said he was "not dealing" with the issue of expenses for the excursion, which was taken by nine senators. He did say later that "all the senators fly coach."
The purpose of these trips, senators said, would be not only to meet with more of the movers and shakers in Washington, but to testify before the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Liburd said no time had been set, nor had selection been made of who would testify.
As each of the senators spoke, they emphasized how important it was to have a presence in the capital, to "make ourselves known."
One of the main accomplishments, Liburd said, was that the senators hired a lobbying body of its own, the Dutko Group, mainly to help recover the gasoline excise tax from the federal government.
Liburd said several key Virign Island personalities had stepped to the forefront to assist the majority in recovering the gas monies. They are retired Territorial Court Judge Verne Hodge, retired Gen. Sam Ebbesen, former Delegate to Congress Ron de Lugo, former senator Holland Redfield, and Tom Campbell, a St. John homeowner said to have connections with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and new Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
Liburd said the Dutko Group is familiar with the territory. They assisted the administration of former Gov. Roy Schneider in several ways including the return of a larger portion of the rum excise matching tax, getting a larger community disaster loan and bringing back the U.S. Navy to the territory after it was put out of bounds.
He said the senators had met with Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen and informed her of their plans. He didn't elaborate on Christian's reaction. The territory already employs a lobbying group in Washington, Winston and Strawn. Sen. Adelbert Bryan took Winston and Strawn to task and accused them of not accomplishing anything significant.
Liburd noted the group had met with Rep. William Thomas (R-Cal.), head of Ways and Means, in a 20-minute "invitation only" session attended by 60 other politicians where they discussed a five-year tax plan for the territory. Other senators noted brief meetings with various Washington politicians. Sen. Carlton Dowe said he had met for "a few minutes" with Mel Martinez, Housing and Urban Development secretary. Dowe said there was another meeting planned in March in Washington to "bring back dollars to the V.I."
Present at the conference were Sens. Liburd, Dowe, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Celestino White, Norma Pickard Samuel, Adelbert Bryan, Donald "Ducks" Cole and Norman Jn Baptiste. All except White and Jn Baptiste went on the trip, along with minority Sens. David Jones and Vargrave Richards.