WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Virgin Islanders will head to the polls for the Republican caucus. Voters will choose between former President Donald Trump or former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. We spoke exclusively with Haley before the election and issues that are important to the Islands.
“This is an important election,” said Haley.
Haley, a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, spoke with us ahead of the Virgin Islands Republican caucus. No topic was off limits.
“I am watching the Virgin Islands as much as any other place because at the end of the day you want to get as much support from every American right,” said Haley. “Because you’re going to be serving everybody.”
We asked her how she could help boost the economy in the territory. She said congress has to work on balancing their budget.
“We’ll stop the spending, we’ll stop the borrowing, we’ll eliminate the pet projects and earmarks,” said Haley. “I’ll veto any spending bill that doesn’t take us back to pre-COVID levels. The next thing we’ll do is take our federal programs that we can and send them down to the states and the territories. That way you’re reducing the size of the federal government but empowering people on the ground. Think healthcare, think welfare, think education, think mental health. If we cut those strings and sent them down, we could better customize them in areas where they live.”
Scientists said climate change has made storms stronger, creating more intense hurricanes and other weather events. The Islands have had their fair share of storms so we asked her how she would mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“First call out the bad actors,” said Haley. “India and China are our biggest polluters. We need to get together with the rest of the world and start holding those two countries accountable. Otherwise, they’re not changing no matter how much activity we change, if they’re not it’s not going to make a difference. The second thing is how we can transition in a common sense way. What we know now is we want our energy sector to be a powerhouse but lets use our energy producers to help with the innovations right? Now we’re looking at nuclear fusion, we’re seeing ways we can reduce emissions but do it in a way we can partner with them to create more innovations.”
And most importantly, how she would ensure Virgin Islanders’ voices are heard.
“Equal voices,” said Haley. “The goal is to represent everybody and serve everybody. And it’s making sure everybody feels like they are equal in every aspect when it comes to our government. I think that it’s hugely important that they feel that. Whether it’s how we’re combatting China, whether it’s their infrastructure, whether it’s any of the other services government provides. Whether it’s freedom and they have as much economic freedom as they possibly can I think that’s the biggest part is showing that we serve them too and that their voice matters just as much as anyone else.”