Kurt Vialet

Kurt A. Vialet, Mathematics Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, first elected in 2014 to serve as a Senator in the 31st Legislature of the Virgin Islands, subsequently served in the 32nd and 33rd and currently serving in his fourth consecutive term in the 34th Legislature, is a Virgin Islander committed to serving the people of this territory.

Having been in public service for over 30 years, Kurt A. Vialet has served in various service-oriented roles in management, in educating public school students, and in several Legislatures.  These experiences laid the foundation for his distinguished career in government as an active member of the Virgin Islands community and a proven, dedicated leader, carving his niche in the Virgin Islands’ rich and diverse political history.  

Kurt Anthony Vialet, was born May 26, 1964, on the beautiful island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to parents, Roy Vialet of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and Helena Matta Vialet of Fajardo, Puerto Rico.  Due to his parents’ insistence that he grow up grounded, they saw it fit for him to be educated in the public-school system of the Virgin Islands from elementary school to high school. He graduated from the St. Croix Central High School in 1982, and obtained both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics from the University of the Virgin Islands in 1987 and a Master of Arts Degree in Administration and Supervision in 1992. 

Upon graduation from the University of the Virgin Islands, Kurt A. Vialet began his career with the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, working with the Department of Education. He has long worked for change as a Teacher and an Assistant Principal at the Elena L. Christian Junior High School, Principal at the St. Croix Educational Complex High School (SCEC) and Principal of the Arthur A. Richards Junior High School.  

Kurt A. Vialet was charged with the duty of designing and structuring the academic programs and the organization and opening of the 2nd High School on the island of St. Croix, namely, the SCEC,  from its inception in August of 1995.  The implementation of the very first Science & Math Magnet program in the Virgin Islands was his “brainchild”, geared towards catering to the best and the brightest minds.  Kurt A. Vialet also designed and implemented the ELMER (Enhancing Literacy in Math, English & Reading) program which assisted struggling incoming 9th grade students who needed additional learning time in the high school setting.  He was instrumental in the coordination of opening the only school-based Health Clinic in the Virgin Islands at the SCEC High School. The SCEC Marching Band, the Quelbe Ambassadors Band, the SCEC Sport programs, and Academic programs thrived and excelled to greatness under his leadership. During his tenure, SCEC embarked on a journey to attain its first accreditation from Middle States Association and was successful in securing such accreditation in May 2005, a milestone in SCEC’s history.  Together with the entire faculty and staff at the SCEC High School,  Kurt A Vialet has contributed to over 5,000 students graduating from high school, and thousands pursuing higher education, especially in the fields of Science and Math.

As a proven and dedicated leader within the Department of Education, a beacon of intelligence and hope, in August of 2011 Kurt A. Vialet was then required to be what is known in Education as a “Change Agent of Schools.”  He was charged with revamping the Arthur A. Richards Junior High School. In doing so, gains in test scores, overall student achievement and performance, behavior, and most importantly, promotion rate were just some of significant improvements that Kurt A. Vialet set in motion.

An active member of the Virgin Islands community, Kurt A. Vialet switched careers and entered the political arena in 2014.  Once again, his quest was to serve the community and provide opportunities for the citizens and residents of the Virgin Islands.  In his bid to the Senate, he was elected, with the highest number of votes, and has served as a Democratic Senator in the 31st, 32nd, 33rd, and 34th Legislatures of the Virgin Islands.

Kurt A. Vialet, as a first term senator, served as the Chairperson of Health, Hospitals and Human Services, Vice Chair of Education and Workforce Development and Vice Chair of the Finance Committee.  He continued his journey of service by creating several different laws and amendments to bills that are of high impact to people’s daily lives, in his hope of creating a better Virgin Islands.  During his first term in office, among the many measures he authored was the law establishing the conversion of all per diem and contract School Lunch and Hospital employees to full time GERS contributing members; an Act requiring the Adjutant General to administer the Youth About Face and the Adult Forward March Programs; an Act providing for an accountability system for the achievements and growth of all students in the Virgin Islands Public School system, the Excellence Gap Bill; an Act to establish a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Program at the St. Croix Campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, and for the expansion of opportunities in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Campus.

In 2016, Senator Vialet on his journey and his quest for a better quality of life for the people of the Virgin Islands, was again elected, placing first overall, to serve a second term in the 32nd Legislature of the Virgin Islands. During his membership in the 32nd Legislature, Kurt A. Vialet served as Chairman of the Finance Committee; Vice-Chair of the Committee on Health, Hospitals and Human Services; and a Member of the Committee on Education and the Committee on Economic Development and Agriculture.  As Chairman of the Finance Committee, Kurt A. Vialet prided himself in producing therefore reducing the territory’s deficit over the next several years by growing revenues and reducing expenditures.  In order to diversify the economy, create jobs and make the middle class secure again, Kurt A. Vialet has championed EDC Reform Legislation among several other revenue generating measures, to include the Limetree Bay Terminal Agreement and the VIGL Horse Racing Legislation.

In 2018, Kurt A. Vialet, humbled by the people’s support, was duly elected to serve a third term in the 33rd Legislature of the Virgin Islands.  During this period, he served as the Chairman of the Finance Committee, for a second term, and together with his colleagues produced a balanced budget for the Territory.  He served as Vice-Chair on the Education Committee and continues to strongly advocate for better school infrastructure and resources for students and teachers alike, as they challenge the hurdles of the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020.  Hardworking and determined for a better Virgin Islands,  Kurt A. Vialet also served on the Committees of Youth, Sports, Parks and Recreation; Economic Development and Agriculture; and Health, Hospital and Human Services.

In 2020, proven as a strong voice for his District, dedicated and committed to a better, improved Territory, Kurt A. Vialet was once again elected to serve the people of the Virgin Islands in the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands.  He currently serves as Chairman of the Committee on Finance; Vice-Chair of the Committee on Disaster Recovery and Infrastructure; and is a member of the Committee on Health, Hospitals, and Human Services, and the Committee on Housing, Transportation and Telecommunications. Three of his proudest accomplishments include the restoration of the 8% to Government of the Virgin Islands Employees; the establishment of the First-Time Homebuyers Program Act (8465); and as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on GERS Restructuring, Solvency, and Economic Development, Senator Vialet was the primary sponsor of Bill Number 34-0188, which created an infusion of cash to keep the Government Employees Retirement System afloat. 

Kurt A. Vialet’s myriad of countless community involvement ranges from being a Co-Founder of TRASHBUSTERS, a volunteer community environmental Clean Up Crew; former Treasurer and then President of the St. Croix Festival Committee; member of St. Croix Horse Owners’ Association; advisor to the CLOSE-UP Foundation; member of the National Association of Secondary Principals;  Honorary member of UVI’s Golden Key National Honor Society;  and member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).  Kurt A. Vialet also serves as a volunteer with the Virgin Islands Special Olympics; the Christiansted Crucian Cultural Group’s activities, and the Frederiksted Festival of Lights activity.  He is also a member of the Holy Cross Catholic Church, and a member of the National Council of State Legislatures.

In addition, he has been recognized for outstanding service by several organizations to include the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (2004), the SCEC PTSA Image Award (2006), the Frederiksted Health Care Inc. (2007), SCEC Physical Education Department (2013), and Grand Marshall of the Carnival Parade (2015).

Kurt A. Vialet is a community activist and volunteer, an avid reader, an advocate for young people, and a sports enthusiast, with basketball and horseracing among his favorites.  Being committed to God and his family are amongst his greatest accomplishments.  He is married to Wanda Figueroa-Vialet, of St. Croix, an Elementary Educator.  Together they have two daughters, both college graduates, Kurrisa Vialet, (Civil Environmental Engineer) and Kyminis Vialet, (Public Health Communications/Psychology); both daughters are also proud graduates of the public-school system of the Virgin Islands.

Kurt A. Vialet remains committed to using his experiences and his energies to continue moving forward, in the best interest of All the People of the Virgin Islands.  

Janelle K. Sarauw

Senator Janelle K. Sarauw was born on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands to Levron and Carla Sarauw, on September 27, 1985, and is the younger of two children.  Janelle is a proud product of the public education system, and graduated from the Charlotte Amalie High School in 2003. Through her academic and athletic achievements, Janelle was awarded a four-year volleyball scholarship to attend Florida Atlantic University and began her studies there in 2003.  In 2007, Janelle earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Global Governance; Interdisciplinary Studies of Social Science and a minor in  History.  Janelle also holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a certificate in Servant Leadership from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.  In addition, she is a US Government Certified Grant Writer.

Upon returning to the Virgin Islands, Janelle taught US History at the Charlotte Amalie High School for three years. During that time, Janelle saw, admired, and helped to develop the fortitude of our young people as they strived to overcome the odds of economic struggles, coupled with educational challenges.  As a teacher with a focus on the best interest of the children, Janelle identified the students individualism and developed curriculum to accommodate different learning styles; offered free tutorial services to students on borderline status; and served as a “Cultural/History” expert for various community nonprofit organizations in order to help them develop programs geared towards children and their parents.  In recognition of her work, Janelle was honored by the Charlotte Amalie High School as the Most Inspiring Teacher for American Education Week in 2008.

In 2010 Janelle assumed the position of Coordinator for the Virgin Islands Department of Sports, Parks & Recreation, another position of impactful influence on the youth of the Virgin Islands.  As Coordinator, Janelle planned, organized, implemented and supervised a comprehensive athletic and sports program on a year-round basis.  Janelle’s organizational skills enabled her to achieve this level of success.  For example, Janelle solicited, trained and maintained an adequate staff of motivated officials and coaches; worked closely with area schools in developing their athletic programs by conducting workshops and promoting healthy eating and exercise among grade school – high school students; and assisted community organizations in hosting sports related activities and ensuring that a range of wholesome activities were available for the residents of the areas served by the Department.     

From January 2015 until July of 2017, Janelle worked as the Chief Researcher and Special Assistant for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of the US Virgin Islands.  Janelle also served her community as a part-time professor of Political Science at the University of the Virgin Islands.

With a desire to continue serving her community as an elected official, Janelle was sworn in to the 32nd Legislature on July 14, 2017.  Senator Sarauw hit the ground running. Two months into her term, the territory was hit with two unprecedented category 5 hurricanes, causing much destruction. Senator Sarauw was very instrumental in coordinating and distributing aid to the people of the Virgin Islands, as well as protecting consumer rights during a very vulnerable time. As a freshman legislator, Senator Sarauw served as Chairperson of the Committee on Workforce Development, Consumer Affairs and Culture.  She also served as a member of the following five Committees: Rules and the Judiciary; Education, Youth and Recreation; Housing, Public Works, Waste Management and Planning; and Homeland Security, Justice, and Public Safety.  During her first term, Senator Sarauw championed and authored bills that promised to develop the skilled labor force in the Virgin Islands through the passage of the State Apprenticeship bill; to move the Virgin Islands forward into an eco-friendlier territory through the advocacy of environmental initiatives; to diversify the economic portfolio; and to garner revenue streams for youth development, senior care, and environmental issues. 

After running a campaign on accountability and transparency, Senator Sarauw led by example, in releasing monthly reports which included the financial expenditures of her office. With her inclusive style of managing legislative affairs, many have seen increased townhalls, press releases, social media informationals – all with the overall goal of maintaining an informed populace.

Janelle K. Sarauw was elected to the 33rd Legislature on November 6, 2018, her 2nd term.  Senator Sarauw served as the Chairperson of the Rules and Judiciary Committee and Vice Chair of the Health, Hospitals and Human Services Committee. She also served as Liaison to the White House, and a member of the Committees on Education & Workforce Development; Youth, Sports, Parks & Recreation; and Finance.

Janelle K. Sarauw was re-elected for a 3rd term to the 34th Legislature on November 6, 2020.  During her tenure in the Legislature, Senator Sarauw has focused on the Territory’s youth, workforce development, the environment, culture, and diversification of the economy.  Some of her signature legislations include the State Apprenticeship bill, Division of Festivals, Women, Children and Families Act, WAPA Management Oversight, Toxic Sunscreen Ban, Gas Stations Limitation, Public Service Commission Expansion, and the Enhancement of the Pharmaceutical Assistance Program. 

Senator Janelle K. Sarauw currently chairs the Committee on Disaster Recovery and Infrastructure, and the Subcommittee on Energy and Infrastructure Development.  She also serves as Vice Chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee; and is a member of the Committees on Finance; Health, Hospitals and Human Services; and Housing, Transportation and Telecommunications.  Senator Sarauw is an ex-officio member of the Virgin Islands Public Service Commission, and the Youth Advisory Council.

Realizing the importance of balance in life, Janelle has been involved in a plethora of activities. She has coached the Youth National Volleyball Team; is a co-founder of Sky High Volleyball Club; was a Board Member of the United Way St. Thomas/St. John; and past Vice-President of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals. As a staunch culture bearer, Janelle was a Virgin Islands Carnival Queen in 2003, and has been a mocko jumbie for over 20 years – highlighting this art form throughout the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean and the United States.

Outside the Territory, Janelle has been recognized by: NBC OUT#Pride 30 (2018); Keynote Speaker at the 2018 Victory Fund LGBTQ Conference; The 35U – (Under 35 Emerging Leaders) (2021); The Advocate Publication; Florida Atlantic University as the Most Distinguished Alumni for the Dorothy F.Schmidt College of Arts and Letter – 2019; and on March 8, 2022 was the Main Guest Speaker at the International Woman’s Day Dinner, in Road Town, Tortola. 

Senator Sarauw’s passion for service, combined with her leadership skills demonstrate positive attributes. Senator Janelle K. Sarauw firmly believes that the United States Virgin Islands is ready for invigorating leadership, and vision that will move the Virgin Islands from Neutral to Drive.   She is confident that she is prepared to meet the leadership challenge and like most residents of the Virgin Islands, is Ready For Forward Movement.