Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has released a new statement on Puerto Rico. As the statement notes, Clinton has a long history of involvement in Puerto Rico related issues — visiting Puerto Rico as First Lady in 1998 after Hurricane Georges, coordinating with Puerto Rico officials as Secretary of State in providing emergency aid to Haiti following a major earthquake, representing a vibrant Puerto Rican community as U.S. Senator from New York, and visiting the island extensively as a presidential candidate.
Her statement begins:
Puerto Ricans are proud Americans who work hard and have enriched our nation. However, they face an uneven, inconsistent and incoherent treatment under existing laws and federal programs. Compared with states, Puerto Rico’s economy has not grown over the past four decades and has suffered a recession over the last ten years. During this period of recession,they have lost more than 290 thousand jobs and Puerto Ricans have relocated to different states in unprecedented numbers. Those Puerto Ricans who have made other states their new homes receive higher wages and are more likely to get work than if they had remained in the Islands of Puerto Rico. Still, more than a quarter of Puerto Ricans living in the 50 states live below poverty levels. As president, Hillary will fight to eliminate obstacles limiting the opportunity of all Puerto Ricans to develop their potential no matter where they live.
The statement goes on to enumerate Clinton’s specific ideas to achieve this goal:
- She will work to provide the necessary tools for Puerto Rico to face the challenge of achieving economic stability and prosperity. Hillary believes that Puerto Rico should have the authority to restructure its debt and be able to pay its obligations in an orderly manner.
- She will ensure that the political status is resolved. Hillary believes that Puerto Ricans deserve a solution to resolve the status of Puerto Rico. She will ensure that all parties take responsibility to establish a federally sanctioned referendum consistent with U.S. laws, public policies and the United States Constitution. In addition, Hillary will ensure that Congress will honor any decision that Puerto Ricans take because everyone has the right to form a government that is representative at all levels of government. Hillary believes that Puerto Ricans, like all Americans, should have the opportunity to participate in the election of its president no matter where they live.
- She will fight for a high quality health system for Puerto Ricans regardless of where they live. Puerto Rico faces a crisis in their health system and a public health crisis caused by the Zika virus… It is noteworthy that doctors are leaving Puerto Rico in alarming numbers. As president, Hillary will urge Congress to treat Puerto Rico like the states in terms of health services by increasing the allocation of Medicaid funds paid by the federal government and stopping the cuts to Medicare Advantage.
- She will ensure quality education for Puerto Rican youth. (The statement at this point details Clinton’s views on American education in general.)
- She will seek to create jobs with good wages and to raise wages again. The number of Puerto Ricans living in poverty is higher than the rate of the general population in the United States, even in states where poverty levels in the Puerto Rican community are much lower than in Puerto Rico.
- She will fight for veterans of Puerto Rico: Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have served with honor and distinction in the military service of the United States since World War II. Hillary has proposed a comprehensive and extensive plan for veterans. (The statement at this point discusses Clinton’s overall plan for American veterans.)
The remainder of the statement summarizes Clinton’s history of support for Puerto Rico. The points above have been translated from the original Spanish.