Virgin Islands delegation finishes committee work in Cleveland

Members of the Virgin Islands delegation are finishing up their service on the various committees of the Republican National Convention.

Alternate Delegate April Newland (St. Thomas) joined fellow Republicans from across the country in writing the GOP platform during two days of Platform Committee hearings. Newland, the Virgin Islands GOP vice chairman, introduced platform planks giving the five U.S. territories the right to self-determination as well as equal parity with the 50 states for purposes of federal programs.

On the Rules Committee, alternate delegates Valerie Stiles (St. Croix) and Robert Max Schanfarber (St. Thomas) helped craft the rules that will govern the national party for the next four years during an epic committee hearing that lasted nearly 15 hours. The rules will also govern the 2020 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

“The Virgin Islands has been heard loud and clear,” said delegation chairman John Canegata, chairman of the Republican Party of the United States Virgin Islands. “Had it not been for the leadership of Max Schanfarber, a proposal stripping the five territories of delegations at the Republican National Convention may have passed.”

National Committeewoman Lilliana Belardo de O’Neal (St. Croix) joined delegate David Johnson (St. Croix) in deciding disputes involving the District of Columbia and Colorado delegations as members of the Credentials Committee. Belardo de O’Neal is the GOP’s second longest-serving national committeewoman.

Both the platform and the rules will be officially adopted during the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday.

Alternate delegates Steven Hardy (St. Thomas) and Andrea Lee Moeckel (St. Croix) will select convention officers when the Permanent Organization Committee meets next week.

The Virgin Islands delegation is staying with Guam, Missouri and the Northern Mariana Islands.

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