Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

House Delegate to Run for Governor in Virgin Islands

From left to right: Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, D-Guam, and Christensen (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is losing yet another Democrat, the latest to make the list of the retirements and resignations in the 113th Congress.

The Virgin Islands’ non-voting delegate to Congress, Donna M.C. Christensen, announced she is running for governor.

Christensen is one of three House members running to be the chief executive back home this year.  Democrats Michael H. Michaud of Maine and Allyson Y. Schwartz of Pennsylvania are also vying for the governor’s mansion in their states.

Christensen said at a campaign announcement in St. Croix that her nearly 20 years in Washington provided the experience and connections necessary to govern the territory.

“No one can bring the key relationships with congressional leaders, with the White House, with federal agencies, national organizations, corporate leaders and regional partners that we can bring at this time of our great need,” Christensen said Saturday.

The Virgin Islands native was first elected to Congress in 1996 and has served on the Energy and Commerce Committee.  Christensen, a former physician, chairs the Congressional Black Caucus’ Health Braintrust.

There is also some uncertainty about the fate of another delegate seat in the House. Del. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega of American Samoa returned to Congress this month after being hospitalized for an unknown illness in October. While Faleomavaega said he is grateful to be back in Washington, the secrecy surrounding his illness has fueled speculation the delegate could retire.

All five of the current delegates and Resident Commissioner Pedro R. Pierluisi of Puerto Rico are Democrats. While delegates cannot cast votes on the House floor, they can introduce legislation and work to secure federal funding for their territory.

For a complete rundown of retirements and resignations so far, check out Roll Call’s Casualty List.

  • Hima Layan

    Since liberty impels a free country’s citizens to unleash their talents, skills, and knowledge, free citizens are able to learn more, know more, and achieve more than those subjected to collectivism’s ever-shifting mirage of illusions.

  • Bob Stauskas

    Since our minds develop along with the civilization in which we grow up, we are naturally unfamiliar with the unseen history of the customs and traditions we practice.

  • Tui Fa’amatai

    It may have been just a throwaway couple of sentences in a larger roundup but Roll Call was the first legitimate off-island publication to say something about Del. Faleomavaega’s long absence from Washington. His seat may be very minor in the Washington scheme of things in Congress but it is important to us and we have been kept in the dark at the mercy of a few scant press releases that have been very vague in dealing with the delegate’s condition. But our radio station took the bold step of engaging a Washington correspondent, he used your mention as the basis for a story and a prominent senator and paramount chief has called for a discussion of the Faleomavaega situation. Sunlight has finally burst through the clouds. Your story has made a difference.
    Thank you.

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