CRUZ BAY — St. John is fielding seven candidates for public office in 2016. Tradewinds recently caught up to several of those seeking seats in the 31st Legislature, the Board of Elections and the Board of Education.
Some, like Alecia Wells, Ivy Moses and Wilma Marsh-Monsanto, are experienced office holders. Others, like Brian Smith, Stacy January and James Provost, are newcomers. Businesswoman Patricia Varlack, a former Senate candidate, is trying again for public office.
There’s also the most recognized politician who is stepping off the stage. Former three time Senate President and current Senator-At-Large Almando “Rocky” Liburd, did not add his name to the list of hopefuls this time around.
Smith was the first to start the bid for the at large seat. He began by greeting passers-by in Cruz Bay Park and mounting a campaign sign on the back of his pick up truck. A retired federal probation officer, Smith can often be seen on Saturday mornings sweeping up his personal Adopt-A-Spot, downtown Cruz Bay.
January is also seeking the at-large seat. She said she decided to run for office after reflecting on the years she spent away from the Virgin Islands while in college.
The candidate said it was not that she viewed the city she attended school in to be better than the VI or without its share of problems. Instead, she saw the difference in the way the political system organized itself around different issues.
Provost, a retired science teacher from the Julius E. Sprauve School, is running for a seat on the Board of Education. He said he decided to run after being recruited by others who thought he would make a suitable replacement for the late Oswin Sewer.
“I could never fill his shoes, but I’ll see if I can fill his seat,” Provost said.
Moses is a recent Nursing graduate from the University of the Virgin Islands and founded the AIDS advocacy group, Hope, Inc. She is also a first-term member of the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections.
Her candidacy drew controversy from time she filed papers to run as a district lawmaker in 2016. Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes notified Moses that current law prohibits elections board members from holding office and running for any other elected position at the same time.
Moses sought and won a temporary restraining order from Superior Court, allowing her name to be placed on the official ballot.
When asked why she wanted to run for the Senate at this time, she said, “I am the change agent that’s needed at this point in time.”
Wells, current President of the St. John Rotary Club, has served on the Elections Board for several terms, and has made attempts at gaining a Senate seat, without success.
Marsh-Monsanto has also run for Senate seats in the past and won a seat on the elections board in 2010. Like Moses, Monsanto is vying for a district lawmaker’s seat this year.
Varlack, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, has placed her name in the running for a seat on the elections board.