Although many people believe the only governmental representation for St. John is the Senator at Large position, there is no reason why St. John residents can’t run for a district senatorial seat.
That was Lorelei Monsanto’s logic when she decided to run for a St. John/St. Thomas district senate seat — the only Love City resident on the ballot for a district seat.
“St. Johnians have been saying that they want more accountability and they want more representation,” said Monsanto. “Here’s a way to do it. Being a St. John resident, I’ll be more accountable to the St. John segment of the St. Thomas/St. John district, since I’ll be representing the district.”
“It’s a new concept, but we do have the right,” she added.
Walking the Walk
Although Monsanto has previously run for Senator at Large, this is her first bid for district senator, a position she feels should be filled with more St. John residents.
“We keep calling for more representation, let’s walk the walk now,” said Monsanto.
Zoning is the first issue the senate hopeful said she wants to address.
“We have over-commercialization here already,” Monsanto said. “We have to look at how we do spot zoning.”
Zoning changes must be approved by the legislature, which is usually filled with St. Thomas and St. Croix residents and only one St. John resident — the Senator at Large.
“Being a resident of St. John, I feel these issues,” she said. “I see it more than someone who lives on St. Thomas. They often make these decisions without the input of the residents who live here.”
If elected, Monsanto plans to get to the bottom of a big mystery.
Where’s St. John Capital Improvement Fund?
“I want to find out where the St. John Capital Improvement Fund is,” she said. “We can’t get a straight answer. These funds should be used for things like repairing roads, preparing our infrastructure and improving our schools, but they appear to be offered to anyone.”
Over-development like St. John residents have experienced leads to many things, not the least important of which is crime, Monsanto explained.
“As we all know, crime is escalating because we’re at this stage of over-development,” she said. “It’s about economics — the haves and the have-nots. Most young people here, I don’t see them working and building the homes here.”
St. John youth should be trained in a skill which they will be able to use locally, Monsanto continued.
“We need to train our children in vocational education,” Mon-santo continued. “Not everyone is into academics, but these kids could still learn a skill. And, if they were receiving some of the revenues from the development boom, it would help a lot.”
Municipal governments have been discussed on St. John for years, and Monsanto has her own ideas about localized government.
“Municipal governments are something we can look at,” she said. “We must, however, look very carefully at how we set this up. We must present the idea to the whole population and create a system that will benefit all — not just a select few.”
“It really depends who our governor ends up being and what plan they chose,” Monsanto added.
No Party Affiliation
The district senate hopeful is not running with any party affiliation, and that is not an accident, she added.
“I do not have a party affiliation because none of the parties have exemplified unity,” she said. “They are separate and apart. Government should not be about a party, it should be about the people.”
The relocation of Julius E. Sprauve School is another hot topic on St. John, and Monsanto threw her support behind the movement as well.
“We need to move JESS, that is for sure,” she said. “But, we have to look at the full picture. I am part of a core group called ‘One Campus’ which has been working for the relocation of JESS.”
“We have bonded together because we have a common goal,” Monsanto continued. “We want to get ideas from everyone. We’d like to have a high school on St. John, but we think it should be somehow separated from the junior high.”
Inclusion is a basic theory of Monsanto’s.
“People always say, ‘no one discussed this with me,’” she said. “I am taking a new approach to try to get everyone’s insight, so they can’t say ‘I didn’t know.’”
Monsanto, who traces her heritage back five generations on St. John, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management and marketing. She had a career in the insurance field in the mainland before moving back home to run her own business. Monsanto was also a president of the Guy Benjamin School Parent Teacher Organization for three years.
“I care for my community,” Monsanto said. “I try to be an active participant, which is not easy work. I’m a community activist.”
“I want to see us develop as a people to higher standards,” she continued. “I want to give my service to the community. The time is right for me.”
More accountability is needed in government, Monsanto explained.
“Clearly, St. John needs its own representation,” she said. “We need accountability and team work. We must all sit down and come to a common good.”
Invest in Children
“My vision may not be someone else’s vision,” Monsanto continued. “We must communicate and share our hopes and dreams.”
The children are the most important assets in the community, said Monsanto.
“I want our children to be educated to the highest degree,” she said. “Because if we don’t, all of our futures are in peril.”