Charlotte Amalie 𑁋 After winning a fourth term as the U.S. Virgin Islands’ fifth delegate to Congress, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett congratulated democratic allies, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris after they won the White House. “Today the United States’ presidential election has been decided through 75 million Americans on the mainland who cast their ballots to elect Joe Biden President of the United States,” Plaskett said in a statement. She said the former vice president is “a consummate statesman, politician, gentleman, and American.”
In the days following the November 3rd election, which took several days to show a clear winner, Plaskett has cast the 2020 presidential election as fair and legitimate democratic process. This comes after repeated attacks in previous months by President Donald Trump who called into question the legitimacy and legality of mail in votes in a presidential election — Trump, however, has voted by mail in the past.
Just one day after learning of Biden’s projected victory, Trump has held off on conceding in the face of an electoral college loss. Advisers and allies to the president have said that he may never formally concede as his campaign continues to dispute the results of the election in a number of states.
CNN reports that the president’s son-in-law and trusted advisor, Jared Kushner approached him about formally conceding as Biden begins building out his coronavirus task force and transition team. Plaskett pledged to work with the Biden-Harris administration and shared excitement for the first Indian-American woman to be elected as vice president.
“This Presidential election has revealed what a completely divided nation we are, and the work ahead in the Congress and with the new administration will be to unify this country and to Build Back Better,” Plaskett said. “I pledge to work with President-Elect Biden on his mandate from the American people.”
Plaskett, the second woman elected to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands’ at-large congressional district in the US House of Representatives said she looks forward to working with the new administration, including the nation’s first woman elected to be vice president.
Biden, in his first speech as president-elect, confirmed that he will announce “a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors” to help implement his pandemic response plan. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University professor from the U.S. Virgin Islands will co-chair President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 task force, according to NBC News.
Nunez-Smith is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management; Founding Director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC); Director of the Center for Research Engagement (CRE); Deputy Director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Core Faculty in the National Clinician Scholars Program; Research Faculty in the Global Health Leadership Initiative; Director of the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership; and Co-Director of the Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship. She will be one of three task force co-chairs advising the Biden-Harris administration as the United States works to lower Covid-19 infections and stablize a struggling economy.
Weeks before local elections started in the territory, Plaskett announced a number of federal grants to support farmers and health officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands. “During these times, it is important that we have funding available for our mothers and children,” she said. “This grant will provide resources to help keep some of the most vulnerable among us safe as well as assist the Department of Health in continuing to execute their public health mission.”
In early October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it awarded the Virgin Islands Department of Health a grant for $294,549 for Maternal and Child Health Services. “I am happy to announce that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded these funds to the V.I. Department of Health for maternal and child health services,” she announced in a statement.
Plaskett is chair of the powerful Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee and announced over $778,000 in federal grants to assist farmers and the agriculture community on St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. On the campaing trail, she was able to tout grant opportunities and legeslative successes to secure a fourth term in the Democrat controlled House.
In her office’s post-election statement, she said Americans have voted for change and they “will have a president who will work to lower health costs, to create new jobs and bigger paychecks by rebuilding America’s infrastructure and a president who believes in science and medicine to crush the coronavirus.”
“Most importantly, President-elect Biden will be a unifier who values faith, family, and community, and who will work tirelessly to heal our nation and fight for those who have been forgotten and oppressed,” she said in her statement. Plaskett won re-election to the House’s 117th congressional body after fending off Shekema M. George, an Independent challenger for the territory’s only congressional seat.
She is projected to win the seat in a landslide victory, with over an 11,000 vote lead, according to the latest unofficial Territorial Election Summary Results Report released on November 7th by the Elections System of the Virgin Islands. Plaskett received a comfortable 13,443 votes and George received 1,759 votes according to the election system’s unofficial tallies.
The Elections System of the Virgin Islands notes that over 17,883 ballots were cast in the territory’s 2020 General Election, voter turnout also exceeded 33 percent as the U.S. Virgin Islands hit a milestone by surpassing 53,000 registered voters.