Opinion: Plaskett’s Partisanship Hurts the Virgin Islands

Delegate Stacey Plaskett apparently never learned the important lesson that those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Plaskett is the last politician who should talk about partisan farces and political stunts.

Gordon Ackley, chairman of the V.I. Republican Party. (Source file photo)

Given her inability to vote on legislation and the huge importance of federal government funding to the territory, the sole member of Congress representing the Virgin Islands should be totally apolitical with the ability and political astuteness to work across the lines that divide Democrats and Republicans. That’s especially the case when the V.I. delegate is from the minority party in the House of Representatives.

Instead of setting aside her own partisanship to advance the best interests of our island communities in an effective nonpartisan and bipartisan manner, Plaskett is more focused on petty stateside political games.

Look, I get it. 

It has to be difficult being a member of Congress who can’t vote on legislation. 

Given Plaskett’s complete and total irrelevancy in the congressional sausage-making process, lobbyists don’t even pick up her tab at restaurants. She is probably the only politician in Washington who can’t get a free drink.   

But throwing partisan bombs as a member of the minority party in the House of Representatives won’t make you more relevant or help advance the interests of your constituents. The majority party isn’t going to do you any favors. 

With 535 voices — 435 members of Congress and 100 senators — fully engaged in the daily back-and-forth tussle of partisan Democrat and Republican politics, there is absolutely no need for Plaskett for join the chorus. To be blunt, nobody in America cares what the V.I. delegate thinks about stateside politics.

As the chairman of the admittedly small Republican Party, I fully recognize that the prevailing political winds in the Virgin Islands are Democrat. In Washington, that isn’t the case. 

At the end of the day, Virgin Islanders don’t pay federal taxes, parts of the Constitution don’t fully apply here and, notably, we don’t vote in the general election for president of the United States. Against this reality, it’s in the selfish best interests of the Virgin Islands to have a delegate who can work with whatever party happens to be in control.

If the delegate doesn’t want to actually represent the Virgin Islands, she should move back to New York and run in a deeply ‘blue’ Democratic congressional district. That would give her the platform she desperately craves. 

Our islands deserve better than Plaskett’s petty partisanship.

— Gordon Ackley, St. Thomas, has been chairman of the Republican Party in the Virgin Islands since 2022.