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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesFYI: Governor's Labor Day Message

FYI: Governor's Labor Day Message

The following material is being published, unedited, exactly as it was received via e-mail from the office of the government official named below, as a Source community service. Government office holders wishing to contribute to the bulletin board must e-mail source@viaccess.net. The Source reserves the right to choose what is published.
Sept. 1, 2008 – Today is Labor Day, a holiday of great importance and tradition to those, like myself, who work each and every day to improve and defend the rights of workers. Today we acknowledge the rich history of these efforts to protect working men and women and to ensure that each day moves them, and all of us, ahead to a better life, a brighter future.
We are fortunate to live in a society where hard work and personal initiative are recognized as essential ingredients for success. However, this Labor Day feels a bit different to me. This difference is reflected in a sense of uncertainty, a sense of uncertainty that I trace to several sources. These include the everyday rise in our cost of living, a war that continues to strain our armed forces and affect our friends and families, a world where the United States must clearly re-define its position and place.
As Virgin Islanders and as Americans we know that our individual acceptance of personal responsibility will make our collective quality of live better. But as we strive for this overall betterment, as we bask in our freedom of choice and opportunity, let us remember that this freedom is not free. Many Virgin Islanders serve in the Armed Forces and National Guard.
They and their counterparts from throughout the United States ensure we enjoy these freedoms. For their service to our country in places near and far, I say thank you on behalf of a grateful community.
Here at home, we are all forced each day to adjust our lifestyles to fit the increasing cost of our electric and water bills, and the cost of our groceries. As became so clear to me in Denver at our National Convention, these challenges are not restricted to the Virgin Islands. They plague the Nation and the world. These challenges indeed exhibit how inter-connected we all are, irrespective of where we live. And these challenges define the work we must do both as individuals and together through our government.
We know that the role of government is to intervene in ways which release the energies of ordinary people so they can succeed. We know that the role of government is to intervene in ways which protect ordinary people from the forces of excess or power which would seek to have them work in unsafe settings or for unfair wages. We know that it is the role of Government to remove obstacles to success from business and labor alike, to stay out of the way to allow success, and to get into the fray where it is necessary to protect those who cannot fend for themselves or to prevent abuses on the part of those who cannot control themselves.
And to this end I work each and every day as your Governor to change our government so it can better address these challenges. That is why I am working to put in place the investments that will allow us to reduce our reliance on oil as the only fuel used by our utility company, WAPA.
It is why I seek to ensure that pricing by our gasoline retailers is driven by competition, and not unwarranted gouging, that our food providers are competitive and that our local agricultural industry is given more resources to succeed. It is why I believe that the minimum wage must be raised as needed to assure survival in a high cost area like ours, and why affordable health insurance must be made available. All of these are investments in our future, investments needed for a better today and much better tomorrow.
And so, on this Labor Day, as on last Labor Day and next Labor Day, we should pause and honor those who have worked to protect the rights of workers. And we should pause and honor our working men and women who seek, both individually and collectively in unions and labor organizations, to perfect and maintain the true and fair value of their work. It is their work that powers our government each day to provide the services our community requires. It is their work that propels our small businesses upon which is built the growth of our economy and from which will come the resources, the additional revenues, that are needed if we are ever to provide programs for those most in need. For it is my strongly held belief that the true essence of our community's central purpose — and the true task of our government — is not to simply provide more for those who already have and want more, but rather it is to help those that don't have what they need. Those in need may not even know how to ask, but that is not their duty it is ours. Our duty is to help them learn the skills and be given the means to succeed. This is the task of government and this is the task of us all as individuals living in a just and caring society. And so I would ask us all — each and every one of us – to take a minute and to think about the well-being of our neighbors. Let us pause and think of how much better the world will be, and how much better our Virgin Islands will be, when each of our hands becomes a helping hand.
God Bless you and God Bless the Virgin Islands.

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