John Percy de Jongh, Jr. (born November 13, 1957 in St. Thomas) is the current Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
John de Jongh was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a child he attended Sts. Peter and Paul School on St. Thomas. After his parents' divorce, he lived with his mother in Detroit, Michigan while his mother did social work for the Detroit Public Schools. During the summer, de Jongh would return to St. Thomas to assist in his father's law firm. He earned an economics degree from Antioch College in Ohio. After graduating from college, de Jongh returned to his native Virgin Islands. He worked for several years as a member of the Economic Development Council, during which he helped receive funding for the preservation of historic Virgin Island buildings, before taking a job with Chase Manhattan. de Jongh first worked as an executive in the company's San Juan, Puerto Rico office before once again returning to the Virgin Islands after earning the position of Consumer Manager of Operations in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Under his leadership, Chase placed more emphasis on personal over corporate banking in the Caribbean and increased home mortgage lending.
In 1987, de Jongh was appointed as Commissioner of Finance by Governor Alexander Farrelly, his first political office and one that had once been held by his grandfather, Percy. He was key in financial reforming and boosting the economy of the territory in the early 1990s. He also worked as an executive assistant to the governor's office, and he helped to coordinate better interagency cooperation.
In 1992, de Jongh left politics and was a powerful and successful businessman. He worked as a consultant for Public Financial Management and was one of the creators of the oversight committee to help Washington, D.C. becoming financially sound. de Jongh has also been an executive at Lockhart and Chilmark Partners, two large Caribbean real estate firms.
De Jongh unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2002 (receiving the second highest amount of votes out of eight candidates) as an independent candidate. He won the governorship in the 2006 general election after defeating Kenneth Mapp in a November 21st run-off election with over 57% of the vote. Adlah Donastorg for the second run-off spot in the November 7 election. De Jongh held the support of the business community, among others, and the expectations of the people for a competently-run public-private partnership in the years to come. John de Jongh took the oath of office on January 1, 2007 to become the 7th elected Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to this, he had never served in elective office.
Mapp had edged out
Governor John de Jongh and Lt.
Governor Gregory Francis announced that they will seek a second term in office in the 2010 gubernatorial election. De Jongh won the Democratic primary election on September 11, 2010. He received 7,487 votes, or 53% of the vote in the primary, more than all three of his Democratic challengers combined, Senator Adlah Donastorg Jr. came in second with 4,300 votes; former Lt. Governor Gerard Luz James received 1,823 votes; fourth placed candidate James O'Bryan Jr. garnered 432 votes. John de Jongh will now face independent candidate Kenneth Mapp, a former Lt. Governor, in the general election on November 2, 2010. The contest between De Jongh and Mapp is essentially a rematch of the top two contenders from the 2006 gubernatorial election.