Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr. (1945-2023)

Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr.
Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr. , former senator of the Virgin Islands of the United States

Sen. Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr. served three terms, from 1971 to 1976, in the 9th through 11th sessions of the Legislature of the United States Virgin Islands, (U.S.V.I.). He was a member of the Independent Citizens Movement, a break-away party established in 1967 by community members who sought to insert their alternative, grassroots voices onto the political landscape apart from the status quo. The status quo was the “Donkey Democrats,” who were considered the legitimate party, and the “Unity Party,” who were the democrats based in St. Thomas. At the time, Virgin Islanders did not vote for Republican Party candidates due to an insulting remark made by President Herbert Hoover when he referred to the Virgin Islands as a poor house and characterized the residents as lazy.

Moorhead, Jr. was born on June 7, 1945, in St. Croix, U.S.V.I. to Esther Virginia Brow Moorhead and Alexander A. Moorhead, Sr., who was a member of the Colonial Council. His wife was an entrepreneur and Territorial Committee member of the St. Croix Independent Citizens Movement.

Standing nearly seven feet tall by the time he reached adulthood, Moorhead Jr. had three siblings: Raymond Alexander, the first elected president of the St. Croix Federation of Teachers; Mario, who studied at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance; and Mary “Peggy,” who was a representative of the St. Croix Federation of Teachers.

After graduating from the Colegio San Justo Episcopal School in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico in 1962, he enrolled at Moravian University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967.

Besides serving as a three-term senator, Moorhead was elected Senate Minority Leader by a majority vote of all the senators of their party during his final term. Following his departure from politics, Moorhead worked with The U. S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority from 1977-1979 as Director of Management Services and Deputy Executive Director, respectively.

In 1980, he earned a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Later, Moorhead was hired by Hess Oil Virgin Islands (later known as the HOVENSA refinery) located on the Southcentral coast of St. Croix in Estate Blessing. It was among the ten largest refineries in the world. Moorhead was a mild-mannered but effective Vice President of Government Affairs, Community Relations, and Secretary, committed to advancing the Virgin Islands. When adequate government funding was unavailable to train investigators for the V.I. Police Department and it was having trouble getting the FBI to conduct its crime scene analysis, he was instrumental in securing substantial funding for DNA laboratory testing at the scene of major crimes.

In 1996, Moorhead joined the Board of Trustees of the University of the Virgin Islands, (UVI) serving five consecutive terms as Board chair. During his tenure, he served on many committees, including the Audit Committee, Finance and Budget Committee, and two Presidential Search committees.

In 2010, he retired from HOVENSA. Ten years later, in 2020, he retired from the board of UVI and was named Board Chair Emeritus by the trustees. The following year the university awarded Moorhead an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at its 57th Annual Commencement Ceremony for his outstanding leadership and intellectual and philanthropic contributions to the Virgin Islands’ public and private sectors.

Moorhead was a Virgin Islands American Red Cross board member.

He married Maxine Benjamin Moorhead.

The Honorable Alexander A. Moorhead, Jr. died in Frederiksted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, on March 24, 2023. He was 77.