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Sunday Edition | Millionaire Warren Mosler Could Be Elected U.S. Virgin Islands Governor If He Instills Service Above Self And Takes A Salary Of Just $1

Featured / Opinion / Politics / Sunday Edition / March 25, 2018

Warren Mosler, born on September, 18, 1949, is an American academic economist, hedge fund founder, engineer, and inventor who has designed and constructed sport cars and boats—notably a ferry built by Gold Coast Yachts which ferries passengers between St. Croix and St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In his fifth attempt to transition from business to government, Mosler is also a 2018 gubernatorial candidate vying for the highest office in the U.S. Territory.

In 2006, Mosler ran as an Independent for delegate to Congress representing the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2009, Mosler filed to run for President of the United States.

In April 2010, Mosler withdrew his presidential filing to run for Congress on the Senate side in Connecticut.

In 2012, Mosler ran once again for delegate to Congress representing the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On the backdrop of multiple campaigns, in different jurisdictions, Mosler has made several unforced errors, as his 2018 gubernatorial candidacy is regarded as another example of a self-fulfilling platitude, and a fascination with being elected.

If I were Mosler’s political strategist and consultant, I would have counseled and encouraged him to instill service above self, really get to know local citizens, steep himself in USVI culture and heritage, and action several of the following acts of kindness and philanthropic deeds before he ran for office in 2006:

  • Contribute $1 million to education, health, the arts, and cultural groups, personally and through his companies.
  • Pro bono renovate the historical landmark, Estate Catherineberg on St. Thomas, which has served as a residence for governors in the past.
  • Volunteer his finance, banking, and insurance regulation experience pro bono to the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Volunteer his public service, time and energy to help the causes of the Women’s Coalition, Lutheran Services, Queen Louise, Catholic Charities, Junior Achievement, etc.
  • Enlist the colleges and universities he is associated with, and give a four year $100,000 college scholarship for studies in finance and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) to a few U.S. Virgin Islanders; tied to their return to work at his company in STEM careers, for at least two or three years.
  • Commit and announce that if he wins he will take a salary of just $1 and spend his own money on expenses associated with being Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Explain why he has run for office in so many different jurisdictions within the same time span (Post 2006).

Service Above Self

What I’m talking about is public service beyond self—the time, energy and effort given to help other people and community causes without wanting or needing money in return.

When we give we receive. If Mosler had done these acts of kindness years ago, his business case for governor would speak for itself because he would have helped local families, friends, and neighbors. Ideally, he would have helped the community, and simultaneously benefited himself, in more ways than he might expect when he announced his political campaigns.

Independent of Mosler’s philanthropy after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, where he posted on Facebook that he “offered his ferry to the government as needed for emergency use,” and should be commended for—independent of that researched but unverified offer, over the approximately 20 years that Mosler has lived on St. Croix, there is mostly only hard evidence that the business ventures he associates himself with, comes with a price tag that he has always benefited financially from and received monetary gain for.

If over the years, Mosler has given quietly to companies and non-profits in the U.S. Virgin Islands, that is indeed commendable, and I say thank you.

If so, now is a great time to have those on the receiving end share if Mosler volunteered his time pro bono, or donated $25,000 to the Women’s Coalition, $50,000 to the Queen Louise Home For Children, $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Club and Junior Achievement, or $200,000 to the Governor Juan Francisco Luis Hospital on St. Croix or the Governor Roy Lester Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas for example.

If Mosler had done a few or a combination of the above philanthropic deeds, 10 or fifteen years ago, he would have already built goodwill and sweat equity in the territory—and may have already been elected Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. At the very least, in March 2018, Mosler would have been the front runner.

Warren Mosler’s Unconventional Approach To Select A Lieutenant Governor: Boom or Bust? 

In 2018, Mosler doesn’t start out as a top contender for governor, but his potential upside is undeniable, considering that working hard to earn his success is part of his DNA, and he has a multi-million dollar arsenal at his disposal which renders him free of special interests and quid pro quo donors.

In addition to Mosler’s expertise in finance, these factors are attractive to Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and his lieutenant governor candidate who he is advertising for in local media markets across the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mosler advertising publicly for a lieutenant governor is an unconventional approach, and it is the first seen in the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the approach does come with high political risk, as the electorate questions Mosler’s judgement.

After living on St. Croix for the number of years that he has, and particularly, after running for office as many times as he has—Has Mosler been so self-consumed and focused on making millions of dollars, that he hasn’t taken the time to really get to know U.S. Virgin Islanders, and invest in local citizens in a manner where he gains no monetary return?

Has Mosler built strong and sincere friendships beyond the east end of St. Croix? Has he walked the streets of Clifton Hill, Sion Farm, Estate Profit (Machuchal), Whim, Harrigan, Humbug, Glynn, Strawberry, Mon Bijou, Savan, Around De Field, Frenchtown, Bordeaux, Fortuna, Polyberg, Smith Bay, Red Hook, and Estate Thomas? Has Mosler genuinely hugged, daps, and invited these citizens to break bread with him over dinner at his home?

When Kendall T. Petersen, who U.S. Virgin Islanders love and adore, and affectionately call him Seigo—When Seigo was alive, did Mosler drive to his home on Queen street to speak with him about the needs of ‘Our Town Frederiksted,’ or visit Seigo and other fishermen at the Frederiksted Fish Market to listen to their stories and help them dig out of any morass and impediments they faced in society, or helped them with getting and maintaining their fishing license?

Has Mosler trained and employed underprivileged U.S. Virgin Islands citizens, who without his support and guidance, would be limited in their achievement? Can Mosler share their names and success stories in a political ad?

Has Mosler sat among U.S. Virgin Islanders and enjoyed a local meal at Harvey’s, Paquito’s, Flamboyant, Villa Morales, Gertrude’s, El Sol, Spicy Grill, Cast Iron Pot, Zion Modern Kitchen, Petit Pump Room, Gladys, Arian’s CoalPot, Diamond Barrel, and Victor’s Hideout?

Has Mosler bought and ate a saltfish, beef, or conch pate from Rosa’s on the Good Hope Road? Has he chatted with Rosa? Has he purchased gas from son of the soil, Donald ‘Buddha’ Francis? Has he bought a newspaper from One Love Service Station and talked to ‘Buddha’ about what keeps him up at night?

Has Mosler went to the Whim or Canegata Ball Park, sat among local citizens, watched a ball game, and enjoyed a good ole’ time with them?

Religious or not, has Mosler visited these places of worship: Speak the Word Ministries; the Seventh Day Adventist Church; St. Croix Reform Synagogue; Abu Bakir Assidique Mosque; First Assembly of God; Sunny Isle Baptist Church; Apostolic Faith Church; Bethel AME Church; St. John’s Anglican Church, or any of the 10 churches that make up the Catholic Diocese of the U.S. Virgin Islands? Has Mosler worshiped with and gotten to know these parishioners?

No doubt if Mosler had cultivated these relationships over the years, in 2018, he would be in a position of strength to develop a solid short list of lieutenant governor candidates—to the tune that he would not need to publicly advertise for his lieutenant governor candidate.

Those steps and activities come naturally to a leader. A leader who wants to be elected governor of the U.S Virgin Islands or delegate to Congress, would be visionary, methodical, and double down on those basic instincts.

Mosler has a steep hill to climb in his bid for governor, but he also has a lot to offer the U.S. Virgin Islands. David Ogilvy said it best: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

If Mosler’s 2018 gubernatorial run is unsuccessful, I encourage Governor Ken Mapp or the new governor, to appoint Warren Mosler as a member of their finance transformation team. Mosler has a proven record in finance, adds tremendous value, and will get the job done.

Worst case scenario, two years is right around the corner. Mosler could run for Congress in his birth state of Connecticut again, or he could run for delegate to Congress in the U.S Virgin Islands. If Mosler institutes any of the recommendations, and is sincere in his service above self, he just might win in 2020.

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Teri Helenese
In April 1994, Ebony magazine dubbed Teri Helenese a Rising Star. In 1997, the same magazine included her on its list of the Top 25 Accomplished Women. And in 1998, she was recognized by another well-known magazine, Cosmopolitan, as a Leader to Watch. In less than two decades, Teri Helenese has met and even surpassed these expectations. Her career has spanned executive functions across the private and public sectors. In every setting—from St. Croix to Washington, D.C. and from local to global enterprise—she has made lasting, impactful change and she continues to be a rain-maker and a changer-maker today. For Helenese's full bio, go here.

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