Open forum: The Initiative: Putting the Cart before the Horse!

Ivan Butcher II

Dear Source:

My position is in support of the Reapportionment Initiative, but I feel that it needs some changes.

A town hall meeting before asking voters to sign the petition would have been better serving the intent of the motion for more accountable change in our electoral system.

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Where are our elected representatives, was the outcry across the Territory immediately following the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria?

Their lack of response, availability and visibility has drawn outrage and a call for a restructuring of the Legislature, in the effort to make our Senators to have designated assigned districts for accountability.

I have been approached to sign the reapportionment petition. I chose not to sign, because I felt it was not clear to the real issue of accountability. I am in full agreement that districting would serve to identify who exactly is responsible in your area of concern. Although senators are given committee assignments, they always have the excuse, I am just one vote.

Generally, elsewhere individuals are elected in the district where they reside, being recognized for their strengths. This doesn’t have to be, by voting in senators at large. To me [it] is no different from the current system with a proposed only two (4) [sic] senators to be held directly responsible for the entire island. This doesn’t sound equitable, to me.

My solution is to reduce the Senate like it was voted to by the people, years ago to eleven (11). Five (5) districts on both St. Croix and St. Thomas and one (1) on St. John.

Campaigning in a district where someone does not reside would not be an issue, this is how a senator at large would be elected. Not knowing the zoning demographics of St. Thomas, I feel their division of districts would be similar to St. Croix.

The five (5) sub-district designated areas would be East-End & Christiansted Town, Central Island, Frederiksted Town, South Shore and North-Side. The district boundary lines can be established based on the population and zoning.

Each of these districts are unique in its own expectations, some ex:
Christiansted Town & East-End: commerce, park, government / building, traffic, beaches, marinas, hotels, casino
Central Island: residential, shopping center, schools, agriculture
Frederiksted Town: cruise ships, commerce, housing, venues
South Shore: container port, industrial parks, airport, highway
North-Side: green space, ruins, communication, hotel

This is just to point out what would be some of the major concerns of each district, in just about each of these areas there are similar and overlapping issues.

I have no confidence that a vote for any reductions would be honored by our Legislators, nor would the top-heavy government paper pushers cry out for any reduction of their positions.

The four (4) remaining senators should be the Senators at Large campaigning in these four (4) areas: Commerce, Health, Education, Environment.

Sometimes the simplest of solutions are overlooked,

Ivan Butcher II, St. Croix

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