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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, July 26, 2021
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Biographies of USVI Delegation to 2020 Democratic National Convention

The symbol of the U.S. Democratic Party

Governor Albert Bryan Jr. is the titular head of the Democratic Party in the United States Virgin Islands leading the V.I. delegation during the Aug. 17-20 virtual Democratic National Convention (DNC), where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be officially nominated as the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates.

The governor says that “While COVID-19 prohibits the traditional in-person convention in 2020, our virtual and remote reality is the responsible response to COVID-19. Virtual or in-person, we won’t be deterred from casting our votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; that’s providence.”

Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett employs her legal expertise in the Democratic Party of the USVI and at large to ensure accountability and transparency both within government and private sector entities whose operations impact the USVI community and communities across America. Delegate Plaskett is a staunch advocate for poverty reduction and equal voting rights and is well versed in Caribbean economic development and public-private partnerships for growing the economies of developing areas. She contends, “The Democratic Party is united for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and for the Caribbean region.”

Cecil Benjamin is the chairman of the Virgin Islands Democratic Party. A former commissioner of Labor, international and national vice president of the AFT and the president of the V.I. Central Labor Council. Benjamin is cemented in Virgin Islands history as an effective labor leader and public servant. He agrees, “The next few months will be difficult in the COVID-19 environment, but I’m confident that working together Democrats will prevail and unite the entire country.”

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Carla Joseph is the vice chair of the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands, a Democratic senatorial nominee to the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands, and a delegate to the DNC. She is confident that Democrats will down-ballot votes for Democrats, and she’s content that the nation will catapult Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris into the White House.

Kevin Rodriquez is the national committeeman. He serves as the deputy chief of staff in the Office of the Governor and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office. Rodriquez is also the chairman of Economic Development Authority board and secretary of the V.I. Port Authority board. He employs his over 25 years of executive leadership and human resources experience in these positions and says, “The United States needs leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who will be ready on day one, can navigate America out of COVID-19 and repair our global relationships.”

Carol Burke is the national committeewoman and a lifelong Democrat. Burke’s connection to politics was deliberate and was defined by her father in her formative years. She has served the Democratic National Committee for 20 years. She is also a former senator and chairwoman of the WAPA board. Burke appreciates how the Virgin Islands’ decisions are shaped and how politics permeates public policy. Her commitment and work are aligned with that of so many before her who cleared a path with the indelible footprints that she steps into and which guide her. Similarly, Burke says, “We are with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris all the way and hope you join us!”

Sonia L. Boyce is a member of the St. Croix District – Territorial Committee of the U.S. Virgin Islands Democratic Party. Boyce was a delegate to the 2004 and 2016 DNCs. She pledges to work to ensure that Joe Biden is elected president of the United States of America. She has served as president of the Young Democrats of St. Croix, vice chair of the St. Croix District Committee and president of the New Horizon Women’s Democratic Club. She is proud to be a Democrat and equally proud of Biden’s historic selection of Kamala Harris for vice president.

Florine Audain-Hassell was a former delegate who attended the DNC in 2008 proudly supporting President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. She was chosen by the people of St. Croix as a delegate to the 2020 DNC and casts her vote proudly for our nominee Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president. She says the Biden-Harris team embodies the leadership and diversity that America needs now, and that Biden has done the right thing for all women, children and families with Harris on the ticket.

Roger Minkoff has been a resident of the Virgin Islands for the past 43 years and regards the islands as his cherished home. Minkoff is a realtor by trade. He has been active in the Democratic Party since he was a teenager. He was elected to the New York City County Committee at 21 years of age. He attended the 1960 DNC in Los Angeles for John F. Kennedy and the 1964 DNC in Atlantic City for Lyndon B. Johnson. Thinking deeply about key past experiences and activism in 2020, he said, “It is important to listen to the people on the outside and truly understand and know the difference between civil rights and civil liberties. Undoubtedly Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and down-ballot candidates understand Democratic values.”

Edgar Baker Phillips is the owner of Wizard Productions Consulting firm. Phillips has been in the St. Thomas District for the past 12 years. He has also been the campaign fundraising chair for governors Turnbull, DeJongh and Bryan, and a delegate for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Phillips was duly impressed with former first lady Michelle Obama’s keynote address and the urgency of the November election. He was also full of joy and pride watching Malvern Gumbs sing the National Anthem as a V.I. representative among the Virtual Choir on the opening night of the DNC. Phillips tips his handmade and custom Virgin Islands hat to Biden and Harris and will also submit it to the Smithsonian in 2020.

Pamela C. Richards is a pledged delegate for Joseph Biden elected from the St. Thomas-St. John District. Richards has been active in leadership roles in the Democratic Party since 1992 and has effectively served several terms as executive director. She believes that with the selection of the Biden/Harris ticket that the party will be able to establish meaningful programs that can assist the V.I. community and create a legacy that inspires others to learn more and do more.

Riise Richards has been a Democrat for over 43 years. She has held the position of secretary for the St. Thomas District and is a past vice state chair. Richards was elected to serve on the District and Territorial Committee of the Democratic Party and is a proud alternate delegate to the DNC. Over the years, Richards has cultivated a network of trusted mentors and colleagues that have helped her expand her horizons. In turn, she shares her knowledge with others.

Robert Rios is a native son of St. Croix of Hispanic descent. Rios was elected four times to represent the V.I. at the DNC in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020. He has been a registered Democrat for the past 36 years – since the age of 18. He is a proud Virgin Islander and an unapologetic Democrat. As a DNC delegate, Rios has had the opportunity to meet and interact with influential people at the national level of the Democratic Party. During each of these experiences on the mainland and in the district, he shares these words of encouragement “Register Democrat!”

Ronald Russell is the former senator who served as Democratic president and minority leader of the Virgin Islands Legislature. Attorney Russell has been practicing law for 30 years. His public service to Virgin Islanders includes the arts as a musician, and he is an avid sports participant and community leader. Of Joe Biden and the presidency, attorney Russell says, “This is Joe Biden’s time. Champions keep playing until they get it right.”

Genevieve Whitaker was born and raised on St. Croix and is a DNC page. Whitaker’s work centers on her advocacy efforts for the decolonization of the USVI and reparations. When an attendee during his 2017 inaugural summit, she was recognized by President Barack Obama. With a juris doctorate and two master’s degrees in hand, Whitaker recognizes that continuous learning leads to continuous improvement – not just for herself – but for her community. Her full biography can be read at her website: https://www.genevievewhitaker.com/biographical-summary.

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