|8th Governor of the United States Virgin Islands|
January 5, 2015 – January 7, 2019
|Preceded by||John DeJongh|
|Succeeded by||Albert Bryan|
|7th Lieutenant Governor of the United States Virgin Islands|
January 2, 1995 – January 4, 1999
|Preceded by||Derek Hodge|
|Succeeded by||Gerard Luz James|
Kenneth Ezra Mapp
November 2, 1955
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Political party||Republican (before 2000)|
|Education||New York City College of Technology|
University of the Virgin Islands
Harvard University (MPA)
Kenneth Ezra Mapp (born November 2, 1955) is an American politician who served as the eighth elected Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, from 2015 to 2019. He was registered Republican, but ran as an independent.
A former three-term Virgin Islands Senator, Mapp served as the Lieutenant Governor of the United States Virgin Islands from 1995 until 1999. Mapp was an independent candidate for Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 2010 gubernatorial election, but was defeated by John de Jongh. He ran in the 2014 gubernatorial election for Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, defeating Donna Christian-Christensen, the longtime Delegate to Congress, in a run-off. Mapp ran for a second term in 2018, but was defeated in the runoff election by Democrat Albert Bryan.
Early life and education
Kenneth Ezra Mapp was born on November 2, 1955 in Brooklyn, New York, to Al Mapp and Vashti Hewitt Mapp. He was one of four siblings. Mapp moved to Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1961, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Almina N. Hewitt, in Estate Rattan. He graduated from St. Croix Central High School in 1973.
Mapp has attended New York City Community College of City University of New York and the University of the Virgin Islands, but has not earned a bachelor's degree. After leaving office as lieutenant governor in 1999, however, he completed the six-week Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School (which has no formal educational requirements) and received a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Mapp also completed other fellowships at Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Mapp has worked as a police trainee in New York City and a police officer in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He joined the New York City Police Department soon after graduating from high school in 1973 and was based in the 83rd Police Precinct in Brooklyn. He later became a police officer in the Virgin Islands and was elected president of the Virgin Islands Police Benevolent Association.
Mapp was elected as a senator in the Virgin Islands Legislature in three separate elections. Mapp was elected to the 15th Legislature of the Virgin Islands in 1982, his first elected office. He would later be elected as a senator in the 18th and 20th Legislatures as well. He chaired the Committee on Public Safety and Judicial Affairs and was a standing member on the Committee on Finance. Additionally, Mapp held other positions within the Virgin Islands government. He served as the assistant director of the Industrial Development Commission, which later became the Economic Development Authority. Mapp also became the director of the Consumer Services Administration, which is now the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
In 1994, gubernatorial candidate Roy L. Schneider chose Mapp as his running mate for lieutenant governor in the election. Schneider and Mapp jointly campaigned as independent candidates. Schneider and Mapp were elected Governor and Lt. Governor in a special gubernatorial runoff election held on November 22, 1994. They defeated the Democratic gubernatorial ticket, which consisted of then-Lt. Gov. Derek M. Hodge and his running mate, Alfred O. Heath.
Governor Roy Schneider and Lt. Governor Kenneth Mapp were inaugurated to a four-year term on January 2, 1995. However, Schneider and Mapp had a publicly strained relationship while in office and the two often did not speak to one another during their four-year tenure. Schneider and Mapp did not seek re-election in 1999. Instead, Schneider ran with Finance Commissioner Juan Centeno as his running mate and they were defeated in the election by Democratic candidate Charles Turnbull and his running mate, Gerard Luz James, who were sworn in on January 4, 1999.
After leaving office as lieutenant governor, Mapp earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP 159) at Harvard Business School. Though he ran for lieutenant governor as independent, Mapp had changed his party affiliation from Republican by 2001. Mapp did not run for governor in 2002. He campaigned for Governor Turnbull who was re-elected to a second term.
In 2002, Governor Charles Turnbull appointed Mapp as the Virgin Island's Public Finance Authority's Director of finance and administration. Mapp raised millions of dollars for the government and Hovensa, the territory's largest private sector employer. The Public Finance Authority acquired its first ever investment grade ratings on VI government-backed securities during Mapp's tenure. Mapp also managed several major capital projects and served on the Governor's financial and budget team. Mapp participated in budget hearings and prepared a variety of detailed analysis and reports. The Governor's financial team worked closely with department heads and legislators to develop and gain legislative approval of the annual territorial budgets.
In 2006, Mapp announced his candidacy for governor as an independent candidate with former Senator at Large Almando Liburd as his running mate. His two main opponents were businessman John De Jongh and Senator Adlah Donastorg. In the general election, de Jongh won 15,914 votes which equalled 49.33% of the total vote, Mapp won 9,100 of the total votes (equalling 26.78 percent) and Donatorg earned 7,871 votes, or 23.16 percent of the votes cast. De Jongh and Mapp, the two top candidates in terms of votes, were forced into a second runoff election on November 21, 2006, since no candidate earned more than 50% of the total votes cast. In the 2006 gubernatorial runoff, De Jongh was elected Governor with 16,644 votes (57.30%), while Mapp came in second, garnering 12,402 votes (42.70%).
2010 gubernatorial election
Mapp formally announced his candidacy for Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 2010 gubernatorial election on August 20, 2010, at his headquarters on Saint Thomas. Mapp, who is running as an Independent rather than a Republican, picked Malik Sekou, a professor and department chair at the University of the Virgin Islands, as his running mate for lieutenant governor.
Mapp's main campaign platform included reducing crime and improving education in the Virgin Islands. Mapp promised to construct a technical school, promote economic growth while protecting the environment and pursue cleaner forms of energy if elected. The general election took place on November 2, 2010. Incumbent Governor John de Jongh defeated Mapp in the election to win a second term in office. De Jongh earned 17,535 votes, or 56.27% of the vote, while Mapp came in second with 13,580 votes, or 43.58% of the vote. Mapp initially refused to concede, citing possible voting irregularities and the advice from his campaign advisor.
2014 gubernatorial election
Mapp ran for Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 2014 gubernatorial election, choosing Osbert Potter, a former Virgin Islands senator as his running mate. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. He received 47.47% of the vote, but since no candidate received the required 50%+1 as required by the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, a runoff was held between him and Donna Christian-Christensen, the two top vote receivers. The runoff was held on November 18, 2014, two weeks after the general election. Mapp went on to win the run-off election, receiving almost 64% of the vote.
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A series of replacements of officials followed the election. Sam Topp, a well known V.I. radio personality, Mapp's fourth communication director since taking office, resigned in December 2017. Topp had taken over the post in March 2017, after Mapp ousted Cherie Munchez from the spot. Topp was deputy director of communications for the administration at the time. Munchez had served a little more than nine months, after replacing writer and political strategist Nicole Bollentini, who served about five months as director of communications (she is currently[when?] directing strategic communications and social media for Government House). Bollentini replaced Kimberly Jones, Mapp's initial director of communications, who moved on to be deputy commissioner of the Health Department.
Other top officials replaced included the resignation of Public Works Commissioner Gustav James in August 2017. Mapp named Nelson Petty Jr. to replace him. Mapp removed Commissioner of Human Services Anita Roberts in February 2017 after she was criticized for moving some residents of St. Thomas's Sea View Nursing Home without coordinating with families and other agencies. Mapp appointed career Human Services employee Felicia Blyden to replace her. Also that month Mapp dismissed Property and Procurement Commissioner Randolph Bennett without explanation; he was replaced by Lloyd Bough Jr., former chief of procurement contracts in the department since 2007.
Taking office in August 2015, Attorney General Claude Walker was the fourth person to serve as attorney general since Mapp took office in January 2015. Mapp dismissed longtime Bureau of Information Technology Director Reuben Molloy in August 2016, temporarily replacing him with Jesus Caban, then appointed Angelo Riddick to the post. In October 2016, Mapp's chief of staff, Randy Knight, resigned with no public explanation.
The territory has also seen the heads of the V.I. Water and Power Authority and the V.I. Port Authority, which do not fall under the governor's direct authority, overturned by board members aligned with Mapp. The head of the West Indian Co. Ltd. was replaced after a March 2017 WICO board vote, when the board of directors decided not to renew Joseph Boshulte's contract as president. He was replaced by former Sen. Clifford Graham. In December 2016, three Mapp cabinet members and a cousin of Mapp's voted to replace Virgin Islands Port Authority executive director Carlton "Ital" Dowe, installing the governor's brother, David Mapp, in the position until a new director could be hired by the board. The VIPA board voted in June 2017 to install David Mapp on a permanent basis. In January 2016, three Mapp cabinet members and a member of Mapp's transition team voted to oust Water and Power Authority Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr.
In November 2015, Mapp fired Special Assistant Attorney General Laverne Mills-Williams, citing as cause only her association with her attorney, St. Croix attorney Lee Rohn, who represented Mills-Williams in a whistleblower action when she was relieved of her duties after giving out information in response to V.I. Open Records Act requests regarding Mapp's use of Government House funds at restaurants and bars. Rohn also acted as an attorney in a lawsuit regarding Mapp's use of WICO funds to rent a villa on St. Thomas.
Mapp dismissed ongoing V.I. Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Percival Clouden in May 2015, replacing him with Wayne Biggs, who served previous head of the Division of Licensing and Consumer Affairs under Mapp's predecessor, John de Jongh. In February 2015, Mapp replaced Jennifer Nugent-Hill, the EDA's assistant chief executive officer.
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| Lieutenant Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
Gerard Luz James
John de Jongh
| Governor of the United States Virgin Islands