Born: May 13, 1966
Place of Birth: New York, NY
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Stacey Plaskett /ˈplæskɪt/ (born May 13, 1966) is an American politician who is currently the delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the United States Virgin Islands's at-large congressional district.
Plaskett is an American attorney, commentator and politician. She has practiced law in New York City, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is known for her understanding of Caribbean economic development and public-private partnerships for growing the economy of developing areas. She is an active community advocate in the Virgin Islands.
After graduating from law school, Plaskett was an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx, New York. She prosecuted several hundred cases and was eventually in the Narcotics Bureau. She then worked as a consultant and legal counsel focused on internal corporate investigations and strategy for the Mitchel Madison Group, a spin-off from McKinsey & Company. Plaskett moved to Washington, DC and worked as counsel on the US House of Representatives, Committee on Standards of Official Conduct; the Ethics Committee. Plaskett left the Committee when she was asked by mentor and fellow trustee at Choate, Robert McCallum (later Ambassador to Australia) to work at the Justice Department as a political appointee.
She served as Counsel for the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, and also as Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Torts Branch in the Civil Division. Plaskett then worked on the staff of Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, primarily working on the Justice Honors program and an initiative to increase the number of minority and women attorney's at the Justice Department. At Justice she also worked on the Terrorism Litigation Task Force and the September 11 Victims' Compensation Fund. She was also the lead attorney (heading a team of 50 attorneys against over 300) for the US RICO case against the tobacco industry (at the time the largest civil case in US history); US v. Phillip Morris, et al. The lawsuit sought disgorgement of ill-gotten gains from youth advertising, false advertisement and specifically noted advertisement in minority communities for "replacement smokers".
During her time at Justice her boss, Larry Thompson, resigned and was replaced by James Comey. Comey asked Plaskett to remain on staff, and she served under his leadership as well. Plaskett left government to be a deputy general counsel at United Health Group, where she worked in the Medicaid/Medicare division: Americhoice under the leadership of Anthony Welters. She then relocated full-time to her ancestral home of the US Virgin Islands and worked in the private sector and then with the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority. There she worked on tax incentive programs and public private partnerships trying to bring economic growth to the development of the territory.
In 2012, Plaskett challenged nine-term delegate Donna Christian-Christensen in the Democratic Party Primary. Plaskett was unsuccessful, receiving 42.49% of the vote to Christian-Christensen's 57.48%.
In 2014, Plaskett ran for the office again, after formally declaring her candidacy in November 2013. In the Democratic Primary held on August 2, she faced Shawn-Micheal Malone, a Virgin Islands Senator, and Senate President, and Emmett Hansen, a former Virgin Islands Senator and Former chair of the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands. She received 50.4% of the vote to Malone's 41.61% and Hansen's 7.92%. She later faced Republican Vince Danet in the General Election held on November 4. She received over 90% of the vote.
Plaskett was challenged in the Democratic Party Primary by former Virgin Islands Senator Ronald Russell. Plaskett defeated Russell in the primary with 85.48% of the vote to his 14.04%. In the general election, she faced Republican Gordon Ackley, an Air Force veteran and business owner, who ran as a write-in candidate. Plaskett won the election in a landslide, garnering almost 98% of the vote.
Plaskett won re-election unopposed in either the Democratic primary or the general election.
Personal Life and Family
Plaskett was born on May 13, 1966, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents are both from Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and moved to New York in the 1950s during the large migration of Virgin Islanders seeking economic opportunity. Plaskett grew up in the Bushwick, New York housing projects. Her father was a New York City police officer and her mother a clerk in the court system. Plaskett lived in the John F. Kennedy housing community on St. Croix during her early childhood as her family regularly returned to the Virgin Islands during her childhood. Her parents' home in New York was often home for students and other recent migrants moving to the mainland from the Virgin Islands. Plaskett attended Brooklyn Friends (a Quaker School) and Grace Lutheran for elementary school. She was recruited by A Better Chance, Inc. a non-profit organization recruiting minority students to selective secondary schools. Plaskett was a student at the boarding school, Choate Rosemary Hall, where she was a varsity athlete and served as class president for several years.
Plaskett spent a term abroad during this time in France. She often states that Choate awakened her commitment to public service and a deep sense of responsibility to others through the biblical verse "to whom much is given; much is required". She was one of the few black students while she attended the school and felt an enormous responsibility to speak out for and be a credit to her race while in high school. She graduated with a degree in History and Diplomacy from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1988 where she was accepted under the early decision program.
Plaskett ran for student government at Georgetown under a progressive student ticket and was very active in the Anti-Apartheid Movement. As a student she spoke on behalf of universities in the DC area at the General Assembly of the United Nations. She received her J.D. degree from American University Washington College of Law. Plaskett attended law school at night while she worked full-time during the day with the lobbying arm of the American Medical Association and then with the law firm, Jones Day. At the time of graduation she had 3 sons who were under the age of 5. Her oldest son was born during her senior year at Georgetown, her second in between law school, and the third son during her second year of law school. Plaskett says having her sons so early maybe caused her to grow up too fast but also made her more focused and disciplined than her peers and credits it for what many who know her cite as her massive work ethic.
Plaskett is married to Jonathan Buckney Small, a community activist and former professional tennis player. She has five children. She sits on numerous non-profit boards focused primarily on education, culture and community development.
In July 2017, former staffers of Plaskett, Juan R. McCullum and Dorene Browne-Louis, were charged with offenses relating to illegally publishing nude photographs and videos of Plaskett and her husband. According to the indictment, McCullum – then Plaskett's legislative counsel – copied the media from Plaskett's iPhone while taking it in for repairs, and then circulated the material using a Facebook account.