Novelle E. Francis, Jr., was born and raised on St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He is the fourth of five children born to Lena Petersen-Francis, a public health nurse from Gallows Bay, St. Croix and Novelle Sr., who migrated from Antigua in 1959, in search of better employment opportunities. His parents, both deceased, taught him the value of hard work, of community involvement, and of making a difference in your community.
Novelle E. Francis, Jr. is the product of the Virgin Islands public school system, and attended the Alfredo Andrews Elementary School, and Elena Christian Junior High School and the St. Croix Central High School. While in high school, he learned the fundamentals of what would become his chosen career path through his participation in a School to Career program. The exposure to this field further developed his passion for law enforcement. Upon graduation, Novelle studied Criminal Justice at John Jay College. He was accepted to the Virgin Islands Police Academy in 1987, the first step in a 25 year career of service to the people of the Virgin Islands. He attained the highest rank of Police Commissioner in 2009.
In 2011, upon his retirement from the Virgin Islands Police Department, he embarked on a second career as an entrepreneur and small business partner.
In January 2015, after a successful election campaign, Senator Francis was swom in to the 31st Legislature of the Virgin Islands. As a Senator, he has focused on economic development, education and improving quality of life issues. Senator Francis has made the school to prison pipeline a priority, and hosted the first annual Crime Prevention Symposium in February 2016 to begin discussions on this phenomenon with key stakeholders and community members.
Several pieces of legislation that he sponsored have since become law. He was successful in moving legislation that would support local hiring and create revenue by requiring companies that receive public funds for local projects to give hiring preference to Virgin Islands residents (Act 7861). His dedicated advocacy resulted in the passage of Act 7810, which establishes a forensic crime lab, Act 7871 which gives police a tool to close cold cases by requiring DNA testing of persons arrested for violent felonies and Act 7934, which requires civics courses to be implemented in the territory's public high schools. Senator Francis has also partnered with his colleagues on various legislative initiatives to include the Correctional Workers Safety Act, the Vlrgin Islands Public Official Compensation Act, the Protection from Harassment Act and legislation that lifts a ban prohibiting persons convicted of drug related felonies from receiving food stamps. He is presently working on legislation that would spur economic activity through the establishment of a Free Trade Zone on the island of St. Croix.
Sen. Francis' hard work as a freshman senator did not go unnoticed. He was nationally recognized as a newsmaker in the May 2016 edition of State Legislatures, the magazine of the National Council of State Legislatures.