Born on the beautiful island of St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands of the United States on October 12, 1973, Senator Alma Francis Heyliger developed a healthy sense of self-expression and confidence as a result of her upbringing and immediate environment.
Graduating from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1991 at the age of 17, as a proud Chicken Hawk, Senator Francis Heyliger embarked on her journey to the University of the Virgin Islands in the fall of that same year. Sadly, tragedy would bring Senator Francis Heyliger’s life to a screeching halt as her mother, Leeann Rabsatt Francis of Tortola was involved in a terrible accident. Coupled with the onset of Cancer, Leeann passed away on January 3, 1993. The following year, Senator Francis Heyliger’s life would once again be rocked with tragedy as her father, well-known barber and musician, Denzil” Frank” Francis Defreitas of St. Kitts also died of Cancer.
Grieving the loss of both parents within a year of each other, Senator Francis Heyliger made a conscious decision to change the cards that life had dealt her! Remembering her upbringing and that her parents had carefully selected her birth name because of its meaning, “brave and diligent young lady”, as well as naming her after a tropical storm, Senator Francis Heyliger has dedicated the rest of her life to accomplishing every goal she set for herself.
Senator Francis Heyliger firmly stands by her own motto, “We spend so much time rationalizing mediocrity…we have forgotten what Greatness looks like!” Senator Francis Heyliger truly believes in the greatness of the people of the Virgin Islands and for over two decades, Senator Francis Heyliger has laid the foundation for this greatness by being a fearless community activist and involving herself with various non-profit organizations and boards. She has given her ‘best’ as an employee of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands for the past 24 years, in the MIS Division, as well as lending her expertise alongside former Senators Lorraine L. Berry and Donald ‘Ducks’ Cole and now as a Senator.
Unfortunately, on December 22, 2010, tragedy struck Senator Francis Heyliger and her family once again as they were forced to grapple with the still unsolved murder of her brother Preston Antonia Francis. Senator Francis Heyliger’s brother’s murder lit a fire under her to keep pushing forward and not giving up on wanting to make the Virgin Islands better and safer for all those who grace these shores.
For about 20 years Senator Francis Heyliger has lent her voice to various Radio Show programs to include the most recent community-oriented show, Alma in the Mornings. Senator Francis Heyliger enjoys using this medium to share information with the public on various community issues in hopes to create dialogue that will continue to open up avenues for collaborative change and empowerment as she is a firm believer that “Through Discussions, Solutions can be found.”
As fate might have it, after one of the many entertainment shows Senator Francis Heyliger produced over the years, to include “Bunny Wailer Live in Concert” in 2002, Senator Francis Heyliger was introduced to her husband of over 18 years Gilbert “Pugito” Heyliger. Together along with family, have helped to raise the two children left behind by the senseless murder of her brother.
Senator Francis Heyliger is also a founding member of Intrigue Carnival Troupe; Past-President of the Independent Citizens Movement Party; Past-President of the CAHS Class of 1991, member of the St. Thomas Ad Club; supporter of Crime Stoppers USVI; member East End Lions Club, member of the Rotary of St. Thomas II, just to name a few.
Senator Francis Heyliger is the author of “Fallen Petals of the Orion”, published in 2004. This fiction novel chronicles the lives of six young people who through a telescope of poverty, look towards the future to escape and survive this poker game of life with the cards they were dealt.
In December 2020, one of Senator Francis Heyliger’s long-term goals was accomplished when she closed on the purchase of the now 60-year-old radio station in the territory, Radio One – AM 1000. As the new owner, Senator Francis joins the ranks as 1 of approximately 18 African American women who own the majority or 100 percent ownership of a radio Station out of approximately 11,000 radio stations across the nation.
Over the past four years, Senator Francis Heyliger has strived to bring her dream to life of Radio One being a place where people can be Educated, Enriched and Enlightened. These accomplishments have allowed Alma to build the necessary relationships and networks needed to assist her in educating, enriching, and empowering the people of the Virgin Islands.
On November 3, 2020, Alma was elected to serve as a member of the 34th Legislature of the Virgin Islands. On January 11, 2021, she was sworn in as a first-time senator and hit the ground running. In her first term, she was successful in getting over 14 pieces of legislation passed.
On November 8, 2022, Senator Francis Heyliger was re-elected to the 35th Legislature. Senator Francis Heyliger has vowed to be an agent of change with the strength and support of the people of this territory as she continues in search of our greatness and remains fearless in her pursuits of prosperity for all Virgin Islanders.