Councilman Ruben Diaz Speaks out on Statehood for Puerto Rico

Ruben Diaz

In the wake of an article last week in Politico Pro reporting on recent polling results finding that Puerto Ricans in New York overwhelmingly support Puerto Rico statehood, New York City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. has penned an essay in Bronx.com, called, “Statehood for Puerto Rico”.

“Puerto Rico most certainly deserves to be the 51st Star on our nation’s flag,” Diaz wrote, “and it will be my greatest priority when I am elected to serve as a Member of the United State Congress in New York’s 15th Congressional District to vote in support of Statehood for Puerto Rico.”

Diaz has announced his intention  to run for Congress in 2020 to fill the seat of retiring Rep. Jose Serrano, who recently announced that he has Parkinson’s Disease and will be retiring after nearly 30 years in Congress.

In his essay, Diaz drew attention to a star-shaped lapel pin he wears. Given to him by Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rossello, the star represents Puerto Rico as the 51st State and the 51st star on the United States flag.

“Despite the fact that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, Puerto Ricans remain as second-class citizens. This was made most evident in the abandonment of care by the United States government in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” the essay continues. “We all know that if Puerto Rico was a State, there would be no question about how to help fellow Americans in need.”

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans suffered as second-class citizens and Puerto Rican people died as second-class citizens. This disgrace continues to lie at the feet of our federal government – which includes the United States Congress.”

Diaz reminds readers that Puerto Rico does not have the power to vote in presidential elections and that the single representative of Puerto Rico in Congress cannot vote on legislation outside of committees.

“You should already know that in 2017, Puerto Rican citizens went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly in a referendum (97 percent!) to make Puerto Rico America’s 51st State. For those who may try to distract the 2017 results by complaining about low voter turnout, no one denied Bill de Blasio his Mayoralty in 2017 when only 8.5 percent of New Yorkers voted for him.”

Diaz represents District 18 in the Bronx on the New York City Council. He served in the New York State Senate from 2002 to 2017, after his first term on the City Council. Diaz was born in Bayamón and is a U.S. Army veteran and an ordained minister.  Some of his unrelated recent comments have been the subject of controversy.

The PoliticoPro article entitled “Puerto Ricans in New York overwhelmingly support statehood, new poll finds,” written by Sally Goldenberg, reported on the results of a poll of New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage.

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