April 17, 2005 – Go to any political event, fundraiser or just about any other community event on St. Croix, and there is a good chance you will see Violet Anne Golden. There is also a good chance that she will let you know her opinion about what is going on.
Golden, commonly known by her middle name, Anne, is generally passionate and articulate. One of the reasons she feels so passionately about St. Croix, she said in a recent interview, is her long family history on the island. She traces her family on St. Croix back to 1678. She also emphasized immediate family ties.
Her father, Arnold Golden, who once ran the Department of Public Works, told her: "Work honorably, think honestly, and you will do well." That is the dictum that guides her life, she said.
"Moving into the 21st century, we have to learn to tell the truth again," she said.
One controversy that has her interest these days is whether the government should build an expensive wastewater treatment plant instead of a less-costly, reconstructed wetland treatment system.
The issue has three elements that seem to attract her. 1) It will affect all her friends and neighbors. She believes that the conventional plant will place a financial debt on residents that will take a lifetime to pay off. 2) It will affect the environment. She said the recycled water from the reconstructed wetlands could help farmers and other businesses like golf courses. 3) It is about the way the government is run. She asked why officials appear to be going full-steam ahead on the conventional plant and not giving people the option of considering the reconstructed wetlands.
She recently wrote in an e-mail, "I do have strong views on the local politics, and this is triggered by the obvious mismanagement and inefficiencies we have to endure daily as taxpayers. Instead of asking for guidance and technical assistance from the Federal Government, we let things fester, until we reach a point of no return. It's like having a sore toe and ignoring it while gangrene sets in."
Golden was raised a Roman Catholic, attended St. Marys Catholic School and graduated with honors from St. Joseph High School in 1977. She graduated from Jacksonville University in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
In 1982, she began her life in St. Croix politics. Former Gov. Juan Luis appointed her to the V.I. Federal Programs Office as an assistant federal programs analyst. While in Washington, D.C., she also ran a newspaper distributorship for the Washington Post before returning to the Virgin Islands in 1989.
When she returned, she did not jump directly into politics. She taught mathematics and computer literacy at Arthur A. Richards Junior High School in Frederiksted and became a member of the St. Croix Federation of Teachers Local.
In 1993, she began to serve on the V.I. Civil Rights Commission, where she still serves.
In 1998, she began her term in the Legislature, during which she chaired the Rules Committee. She was the sponsor of the enabling legislation for the Economic Development Commission in the 23rd Legislature. Although the EDC did not live up to its early promise, she is still "very proud of that legislation." She doesn't take credit for creating the legislation. She says others did that; all she did was "tweak it" and get it passed.
She presently runs a private consulting business. Senate President Lorraine Berry is one of her clients and is probably one of the reasons Golden is out in the public so often now. Golden said there is a misconception about who Berry really is. "Berry is actually a very humble person," Golden said.
Her other clients include those in telecommunications, food service, hotel and non-profit areas. She is a management consultant to the Girl Scouts of the U.S. Virgin Islands and is a member of the Territorial Committee of the Republican Party.
She hasn't left her teaching days behind. She volunteers her services to the schools, she said. She also taught a semester of algebra this year when a teacher shortage occurred at St. Croix Central High School, where her son, David, is a student. She also is active in the Central High PTA.
Part of her outspokenness is her belief that it is better to be self-critical than to hear it from the outside, she said. Virgin Islanders don't want to hear outsiders saying what is wrong with their islands, but that should not stop them from being constructively self critical, she said.
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