Former Judge Soraya Diase Coffelt Announces Candidacy for Governor; Diase Coffelt to Campaign on a Vision for a Better Virgin Islands

Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands, March 09, 2014 --( Former Judge Soraya Diase Coffelt announced on August 10 her intention to run for Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands and released the following statement:

“After a long period of thoughtful consideration, I have decided to run for Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands because our community is suffering. As a daughter of the Virgin Islands and as someone who deeply loves her home, I can no longer stand back and idly watch. Too many of our youths are dropping out of school, our crime rate is high, too many of our children are in school but can’t read, many of our businesses are closing, child poverty is abundant, and electricity rates are too high. I am running because the status quo is no longer acceptable and I believe that I have the vision, skills, and experience to bring about real change.

“As governor, I will reduce crime and decrease the high student dropout rate by bringing reforms to our education system. I will expand and improve programs that teach career skills to our youth and adults, so that everyone will have the opportunity to secure a good-paying job. I will also promote early reading skills for our children. Using my business experience, I will focus on creating economic growth and prosperity by promoting tourism and providing our people and our businesses with new opportunities. Also, I will address the high electricity rates by seeking out common sense solutions in the short term and aggressively expanding renewable energy investments for the future.

“I understand the struggles that many people in our community are going through. I will work hard every day to bring about real change using my extensive experience as a lawyer, former judge, small business owner, mother, wife and caregiver.”

Diase Coffelt concluded, “I am looking forward to travelling our islands and meeting with concerned citizens to discuss the problems confronting our home. Together we can make real changes that will bring about a better Virgin Islands.”

In the coming weeks and months, Diase Coffelt will be issuing detailed policy stances.


Soraya Diase Coffelt was born on St. Thomas to lower-middle class parents, who worked hard to own a small business in the Down Street area of Charlotte Amalie. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in political science with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and went on to earn a scholarship that, along with students loans, enabled her to attend Cornell University's School of Law, from which she graduated in 1981. After graduating, Soraya returned home to St. Thomas and chose to give back to her community, serving as a law clerk in the Territorial Court (now Superior Court) of the Virgin Islands. In 1985, Soraya established her private law office and built a successful law firm from the ground up. Eight years later, she was appointed judge of the Territorial Court, where she served honorably for six and one half years. Soraya later earned a Master of Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada at Reno. Soraya and her late husband, Gordon Coffelt, a U.S. veteran, developed a variety of successful commercial businesses and properties on St. Thomas, which have employed more than 100 people over the years and stimulated the local economy.
Committee To Elect Soraya Diase Coffelt Governor
Etienne A. Gibbs