February 17, 2011 By Karen Stewartson
Most public servants aspire early in life to do so, and Louis Patrick Hill, vice president of the Senate in the U.S. Virgin Islands, isn’t an exception to this. A decorated military veteran and former administrator for St. Thomas and Water Island, Hill’s will to serve led him to a successful run for office in 2003.
Last year, the senator spearheaded an economic summit that united the legislative, judiciary and executive branches of government with three main goals: to get government to more efficiently use technology, reduce expenditures, and increase revenue and taxes. But this was an unprecedented occurrence and no small feat. “It was a difficult and delicate process bringing all three branches of government in the same room to focus on the problems we can solve together,” said Hill. “It required everybody understanding that the economic challenges we face affect all three branches, and if we find solutions, then those would impact all three branches.”
First on the agenda, Hill says is to implement changes that require little funding, such as streamlining the U.S. territory’s communication system by setting up three distinct e-mail domains for each branch of government; providing e-government services; switching to bulk purchasing procurement processes; and consolidating agencies. An alternative energy pilot project is under way to see how the island can harness wind and solar energy, which Hill says will further spark economic development.
Ultimately Hill’s goal is to make the government more responsive to constituents’ needs and improve their quality of life. By leading this effort, Hill has proven that no government is an island — there’s strength in unity.
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