Thursday, July 29, 2004

USVI: Scarcity of black Kerry staffers rankles V.I. Democrats


Possibility of jumping ship to Republicans is slight, though, as fear of another Bush term outweighs the criticism

By JEREMY W. PETERS
Wednesday, July 28th 2004

BOSTON - When Barack Obama, a U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois, delivered the keynote address Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Virgin Islands delegates saw something they had desperately wanted to see - a black person taking center stage in the 2004 presidential election.

V.I. Democrats, along with other black Democrats nationwide, are concerned about the lack of prominent blacks in key roles in the presidential campaign. In particular, many blacks have found that as they turn on the evening news and see the faces of Sen. John Kerry's top advisers, the faces do not look like theirs.

"There's nobody in the campaign who seems to be the average person," Gov. Charles Turnbull said. "For the masses of the African-American community, it seems like they've been left out."

Desiree Hill, a Democratic delegate from St. Thomas, said many feel the party has taken the black vote for granted.

"I'm encountering a lot of black people, African Americans, who say, 'I'm not voting for Kerry.' What do we tell people when they come to us and say, 'What has he done for black people?'"

What Indeed...

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