St. Thomas — Nearly two weeks later, Democrats continue to pick up more seats in the House. Political analysts who predicted a blue wave quickly doubled back when it became apparent the Senate would remain in Republican control.
Two weeks after nationwide elections concluded, it is still not fully clear if the stage has been set for another two years of partisan politics in Congress, but something else has changed. U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett has gained more power and influence in Washington after Democrats won the House.
WATCH: Del. @StaceyPlaskett (D-VI) says, “I think that our bench is deep, I think that Nancy Pelosi has done a tremendous job of being Speaker…but I don’t think that she’s the only person who can do that” pic.twitter.com/21QuHxJkHd
— Washington Journal (@cspanwj) November 15, 2018
Prior to the November midterms, Plaskett sat on key committees that seek to harden infrastructure, economic development, transportation and healthcare in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories. As a Democrat, the delegate stands to benefit from the party’s big win that come with it own set of powers.
Plaskett’s Role in Committees and Caucuses
- Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
- Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
- Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- The Interior, Energy and Environment
- Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules
- Committee on Agriculture
- Commodity Exchanges Energy and Credit
- General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
The delegate’s role on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee allowed the Virgin Islands to access over $51 million in federal aid for emergency response and public roads.
At the Polls
Plaskett rode on a wave of confidence from voters and potential challengers after a long year of lobbying for Congress to take a more central role in recovery and rebuild efforts the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Plaskett whipped through the November 6th election without an opponent and a solid list of accomplishments at the end of her first term.
— Rep. Stacey Plaskett (@StaceyPlaskett) November 6, 2018
According to NPR, Democrats have not picked up this many seats in the House since Richard Nixon resigned following the Watergate investigation, leading to Democrats’ pickup of 49 seats that fall.
Elections in the Virgin Islands ended with roughly 60 percent of the 32nd Legislature’s 15 senators losing a seat earlier this month. While party lines usually don’t consume elections in the territory, they did this time around. Democrats now have a majority of 13-2 and could shape policy alongside Washington, if Democrats have another big win in 2020.
The newly elected Democrats in the 33rd Legislature will need to defend their seats in 2020 to see this favorable future to fruition. “We have lost a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge from the Legislature,” Vialet said in an interview with the Virgin Islands Daily News. “I think it’s about 80 years of institutional knowledge that is gone. The two incumbent senators from St. Croix have collectively eight years of experience.”House Democrats have taken a more granular approach with President Trump in recent days, hoping to use their subpoena powers to launch investigations into Trump’s presidency and Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Elections. Trump has vowed to take a ‘warlike posture’ if Democrats investigate him.
Featured image first seen on the Washington Examiner