Politics

Delegating Denver #51 of 56: Virgin Islands

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Virgin Islands

Total Number of Delegates: 9 Pledged: 3 Unpledged: 6

How to Recognize a Virgin Islands Delegate: Blown (way) off course during his second voyage, Christopher Columbus chose a religious theme and named this grouping of islets for the virgin handmaidens of some obscure marriage-avoiding saint. He was going through his idealistic phase (pre-tyrant), and hoped that the sail-by edict would be enough to convert the natives into Catholics. Instead, the islands attracted pirates, who loved the hidden harbors as a place to dock their ships. The beautiful white-sand beaches also gave them a perfect spot to lay out their towels and gawk at one another's booties. And that's how America's cruise vacation industry began! The only trouble was that the islands belonged to Denmark. The United States wanted them badly and started making offers in 1845. Finally, in 1917, an arrogant U.S. government claimed that it had intelligence reports showing German plans to use the islands for launching U-boats of mass destruction, and forced the Danes to sell for $25 million. Today the U.S. Virgin Islands are a haven of American prosperity and proud home to both the largest oil refinery in the Caribbean and Captain Morgan's new worldwide rum distillery. It's also a popular port of call for compulsive snorkelers and cautious honeymooners. In return, Virgin Islanders are prohibited from voting for the United States president and collecting Social Security. They will be extremely easy to detect on the streets of Denver. Females will look like movie stars making guest appearances on Sesame Street circa the 1980s, with their outdated pastel-hued cruise-wear pantsuits. Their shoes will be low-heeled strappy sandals in citrus colors from the Essentric Shoe Boutique. Males will wear comfortable, color-coordinated shirt-and-slacks ensembles with matching fabric shoes in aquamarine, oyster and lavender from Asfour Department Store.

Famous Virgin Islanders: Anti-slavery activist hero Denmark Vesey; Liberian nation-builder Edward Wilmot Blyden; Father of Impressionism Camille Pisarro, socialist labor leader Frank Rudolph Crosswaith; black nationalist turned conservative firebrand Roy Innis; beloved national librarian Enid M. Baa; sitcom psychiatrist Kelsey Grammer; video vixens Karrine Steffans and Jasmine St. Claire; "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" songwriter Claude A. Benjamin; basketballers Tim Duncan and Raja Bell; baseballers Joe Christopher and Midre Cummings; runners Bruce Sewer and Iroy Chittick.

Famous Virgin Island Democrats: United States representative Donna Christian-Christensen; 27th governor Charles Wesley Turnbull; 28th and current governor John deJongh; senators Pedro "Pete" Encarnación, Louis Patrick Hill and Lorraine Berry.

Denverites With Virgin Island Connections: 2004 Virgin Islands Olympic team and current University of Denver head swim coach Brian Schrader

Territory Nickname: American Paradise. Island Nicknames: Rock City (St. Thomas), Love City (St. John) and Twin City (St. Croix) (official); Duty Free Town (St. Thomas), Straw Hat Town (St. John) and Fruity Rum Drink Town (St. Croix) (unofficial).

Population: 108,708 Racial Distribution: 9% white, 76% black, 1% Asian, 14% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $17,200 Unemployment: 11%

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato