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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, April 2, 2023
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Senators Still Jockeying for Position

Nov. 22, 2004 – If life's most constant feature is change, then the newly-elected members of the 26th Legislature are right in step with life. On Friday, the then-Democratic majority voted six to four to make third highest vote-getter Sen. Louis P. Hill president of the new body. By Monday morning, not only was Hill no longer president, he was no longer part of the majority, according to reports from informed sources.
Sen. Ronald Russell, who on Thursday was elected as Senate vice president under Hill as president, confirmed Monday that had changed, as well. "That was true Thursday," he said.
Reportedly the Democrats had splintered, leaving veteran Sen. Lorraine Berry as Senate president and Sen. Norman Jn Baptiste –– a Democrat in his previous two terms, an independent in 2004 –– as vice president.
Berry was president of the 22rd Legislature.
Eight senators signed off on the new majority, and two were still being considered
Sens. Berry, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Jn Baptiste, Shawn-Michael Malone, Usie Richards and Celestino White, along with Senators-elect Terrence Nelson and Liston Davis, have signed onto the majority. When the dust settles, Democratic Senators-elect Craig Barshinger and Pedro Encarnacion may have also become part of the majority.
"There is more than one meeting scheduled today," Russell said. "The senators have to choose where they want to align themselves." He said the meetings are "part of the process," adding, "I have no problem with that; my concern is for my constituents."
Russell, a Democrat, said his first interest is which group "has the best interests of St. Croix at heart. That is most important," he said, "It outweighs any other factor."
In a chance meeting at the Cyril E. King Airport Monday morning, Donastorg said he was on his way to St. Croix for further meetings. And it could all change, again, he said.

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