Holland Redfield has consistently said the difference between a statesman and a politician, is that a politician works for the next election and a statesman works for the next generation. This 'biting' philosophy has guided him throughout his political career, and formulated his public policy decisions here in the Virgin Islands. He has always said, “Never interpret a politician’s politeness for weakness.”
St. Croix has been his home for over 40 years and he is accepted as a Virgin Islander, although he was born in Syracuse, NY on April 10, 1943. He served as a Republican Senator in the VI Legislature for six terms, and continues to be singled out by numerous Virgin Islanders as a Government Negotiator, Political Advisor, and Economic Development Specialist. Most recently, the Senator has been the Radio Talk Show Host of “Straight Talk with Redfield" on 970 WSTX AM, a fast-paced magazine style format that covers lifestyle, political, and social issues.
He has been a licensed commercial pilot since 1966, instrument and licensed flight instructor, and is rated to fly multi-engine land, and multi-engine sea planes. He flew Pilot in Command with Antilles Airboats in the Virgin Islands and served his country by enlisting in the US Coast Guard.
Redfield’s first passion in life was flying. And as a result, he developed the skills and discipline that armed him as a political leader to follow through on difficult public policy initiatives. He was exposed to the highest levels of government as a young aviator, flying dignitaries such as the late Republican Governor Melvin Evans and the late Governor Cyril Emmanuel King, as well as business and political leaders in the early ‘1970s.
Redfield has been an active part of the community since his arrival in St. Croix in 1969. As a realtor broker, he was owner and operator of Redfield and Associates, real estate investment and trust and earned the distinction of Realtor of the Year in 1978. He was recognized nationally and earned a reputation for helping first-time home buyers purchase land with innovative financing plans that up until that time, had not been available to them.
Additionally, he held senior positions as the VP of Marketing, General Engineering Corp., and as Director of Governmental Affairs & Personnel for the Virgin Islands Telephone Company (VITELCO) giving him a unique and balanced perspective of the Virgin Islands corporate environment after having served as Senator. Redfield has continued to be successful in both private and public sectors.
Within the last decade, in addition to hosting his radio talk show, he is presently a consultant to the CEO of the WJKC family of radio stations, and his radio show is also rebroadcast on-demand on the Government TV Access Channels (Channel 6-St. Croix, Channel 10-St. Thomas) where the community gets a chance to watch Redfield ask the difficult questions to the political “movers and shakers” in action.
Redfield first launched his public career as a campaign aide to Governor King in 1974. After King's successful election, Redfield worked closely with the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Peter D. de Zela and was a member of the Governor's Kitchen Cabinet. Redfield’s interest in consumer issues led to Governor King's recognition and soon after an appointment as a member, and later as the Chairman of the Public Services Commission (PSC). Redfield was only in his 20’s, and was one of the youngest Chairman’s of the PSC's in the nation and had an immense responsibility over the Virgin Islands and its utilities. As Chairman, one of his first battles was against VITELCO and the long distance rates they were applying to the Virgin Islands. It had been told to the Senator and lowering the rates just couldn't be done in which he replied, watch me. It was because of his leadership and initiative, that the PSC eventually applied the rate integration formula from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Plan, where the net result was a historic decrease in long distance phone rates by a whopping 40 percent.
After this first exposure with public service, he was determined to be a Senator in the Legislature and serve the people of the Virgin Islands. He first ran in 1978, and after three unsuccessful attempts--he just wouldn't give up, and out of pure tenacity and perseverance--he finally won his first Senate election in 1984. Keeping money in people's pockets, and confronting the needs of his community head on and were what guided Redfield’s legislative agenda.
It was during his freshman term in the 16th Legislature that Redfield distinguished himself from the outset as a consumer and civil rights advocate, Legislative Liasion to the White House as well as upholding the Virgin Islands at a high level of autonomy and self-sufficiency.
The innovative ideas and down-to-earth common sense of Redfield’s legislative approach won him a second term in the 17th Legislature. He demonstrated a pragmatic approach, not based on party affiliation but by putting the Virgin Islands first, with a specific emphasis in creating fairness between labor and management.
Elected to a third term in the 18th Legislature, the economy, education, and the protection of our youth were drivers of this term. Additionally, his role during the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo was pivotal to the recovery of the island.
Virgin Islanders elected Redfield to serve a fourth term in 1990, due to his stellar reputation as a consumer advocate and consistently finding solutions to everyday problems. He led a frontal attack on food and pharmaceutical pricing, ensured the banking institutions were more accountable, and showcased his commitment for the Agricultural Industry.
Elected to a fifth term for the 20th Legislature, Redfield’s emphasis shifted to the increasing crime problem in the Territory, particularly among juveniles, as well as worked closely with the Women's Coalition of St. Croix to put through a law to aid victims of domestic violence. Being The pioneer of the lemon law legislation and helping to turn renters into homeowners were just a few of the Senator's achievements during this term.
Redfield for Lt. Governor of the Virgin Islands
It was in June, 1994, then Territorial Court Judge Julio Brady declared his candidacy for Governor of the Virgin Islands, and announced that he had tapped Redfield to serve as his running mate for Lt. Governor. Brady cited Redfield’s achievements as a well-respected Senator, and his political and philosophical compatibility with him.
It’s easy to be an elected official during the good times, but what separates a politician from a statesman are when times are difficult--and the statesman will navigate through the difficulty with the betterment of the community at the forefront, as was seen in Redfield’s broadcast during and after the Hurricane Marilyn disaster.
After the loss of the Lt. Governor election, Redfield remained active in political issues with a specific emphasis on the Caribbean. He became one of the Technical Advisors on Economic Affairs (specifically focused on the Dominican Republic and Washington DC relations) to Pena Gomez, the Presidential Candidate for the Dominican Republic.
After both defeats, Redfield came back committed to serve the Virgin Islanders for a sixth term in the 22nd Legislature. He didn't lose any traction, picked up right where he left off--and stuck to his guns. His key priorities remained as a staunch consumer advocate dedicated to keeping money in the pockets of Virgin Islanders and supporting economic development throughout the community.
Redfield’s civic involvement includes a term as president of the St. Croix Board of Realtors, membership in the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, and as board member of Camp Arawak, a vocational program for deprived youth. And most recently, Redfield was knighted as part of The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, and Commander of The West Indies in 2006.
In a heartfelt demonstration of solidarity with the disabled, Redfield and at his side, his former wife Paula joined forces in the early 1980s to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 1983, Redfield was chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in the Territory, and raised more money for MDA per capita in amounts yet to be surpassed in the nation.
Redfield’s dedication to his fellow Virgin Islanders has stayed with him beyond his time in the VI Legislature which is evident in his radio talk show, “Straight Talk.” Frequent guests include political leaders, community activists, and local residents who participate and call-in to share their views with the Senator, knowing he’ll be an active listener to their concerns. On the local level, his personal guests have included Governor De Jongh, WAPA CEO Hugo Hodge, as well as multiple Commissioners and Senators. On a national level, Speaker of the House John Boehner, CNN Politics Analyst Roland Martin, Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, current RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and Attorney Lannie Davis (Former President Clinton's Chief Legal Counsel). And on the international level, as recently as political leaders in Egypt involved in the current revolution.
Redfield has never slowed down in his efforts, whether a public official or private citizen, as a champion for the consumer, ensuring the pricing of food, pharmaceuticals, gas, and propane gas are as cost effective as possible for Virgin Islanders. He has diligently worked to keep large companies and industries such as banking, finance, and WAPA accountable and transparent. His legislative record is an excellent demonstration of putting Virgin Islanders first, as he has never emphasized partisan politics. From fighting crime to aiding victims of domestic violence to creating public schools as drug free zones--Redfield has always worked within the community for the betterment of all Virgin Islanders through the best and worst of times. As seen during Hurricane Marilyn, Redfield motivated the territory to reenergize and rebuild, and continues to be the leading voice that most Virgin Islanders choose to listen to during any storm or potential hurricane.
Redfield has always kept the needs of the USVI at the forefront and will continue to support the Virgin Islands maintaining a level of self-suffiency and autonomy, and as an integral part of the USA. Ultimately, we don't all have to like each other, but we do have to all love the Virgin Islands first.