The 11th of 13 children born to Mayrose and James Blyden, Sr., Senator Marvin A. Blyden grew up in the Nadir community and is a proud product of the Virgin Islands public school system. Blyden also is a graduate of the Dickinson Business School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2017 Senator Blyden attended the Robert J. Thompson Leadership Academy in Connecticut where he received a Certificate of Completion. He is also a graduate of the Eastern Leadership Academy of the Council of State Governments, in which he also serves as a member of the Transportation Policy Committee. His extensive management experience includes Training Manager at Pepsi, Co, for 5 years after graduating from business school; Manager of the Food and Beverage division of the FrenchmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Reef Hotel & Resort; a small business owner for over 20 years; and for over 20 years Senator Blyden was employed as Housing Manager and District Manager at the VI Housing Authority before being elected to the Legislature.
Married to Jacqueline Modeste Blyden for 32 years, a father of three grown children and grandfather of seven, Senator Blyden finds success in a grounded family life that allows him to serve his community well. Known as a natural-born leader, Senator Blyden is driven and optimistic, always willing to uplift those around him.
In the community, Senator Blyden served in diverse capacities including little league football coach, Zero Tolerance basketball coach, Contractor, Consultant, and Motivator. He is known to put others before himself, and he believes that we have a sacred responsibility to positively impact people, their families, and the community.
Since in office, Senator Blyden has annually raised funds for college-bound graduating high school students through his annual Ã¢â‚¬Å“V.I. Women United to Empower Scholarship Prayer BreakfastÃ¢â‚¬Â fundraising program. To date, the Marvin A. Blyden Scholarship has received and distributed over $60,000 in grants to graduate students.
Annually, Senator Blyden holds a SeniorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Brunch, a Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway and a Toys for Tots Christmas giveaway for the St. Thomas St. John community. He has also co-sponsored/co-chaired the US Virgin Islands/Caribbean Emergency Housing and Safe Waste Summit and hosts a popular bi-weekly radio show on WSTA, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s station. Additionally, Senator Blyden was voted best Senator by the Virgin Islands Daily News readers for two consecutive years 2017-2019.
Now serving his fifth term, Senator Blyden is the Chairman of the Housing, Transportation, Infrastructure, and Telecommunications in the 35th Legislature of the Virgin Islands and is undisputedly known as the territoryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foremost advocate for affordable housing, for seniors and for persons with disabilities. Some of the highlights of his accomplishments during his tenure include: the repair and flood control on the Coki Beach Road, approval of a landmark 10-year Affordable Plan that will result in the replacement of every unit in public housing communities, preserving the retirement system, the enactment of legislation to establish a school dental health program, the establishment of a Disability Integration Unit to better serve persons with disabilities during emergencies and natural disasters, landmark legislation to protect our shorelines and to establish the Virgin Islands as the first jurisdiction to implement a ban on reef- harming sunscreens, the protection of VI homeowners from improper liens for work performed under emergency repair programs, to protect Virgin Islands veterans, and to provide protections and benefits for Virgin Islands workers and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also successfully advocated for the extension of potable water lines in residential neighborhoods on St. Thomas and St. John. He believes there is a solution to every situationÃ¢â‚¬â€thus his political slogan Ã¢â‚¬Å“Your Choice for Solutions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As he enters a new term, Senator BlydenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s legislative priorities include a workforce housing development bill, a measure to provide free post-secondary technical education, a major revision of the Virgin Islands Housing Code, and a reorganization of the Virgin Islands Government and its agencies.