On Thursday, two senior members of Congress made statements on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of a straightforward statehood “yes or no” vote in Puerto Rico.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) clearly stated:
It is a great honor to stand today in solidarity with Ms. Ros-Lehtinen in calling for what is long overdue: statehood for Puerto Rico. The residents have been U.S. citizens for more than 100 years, but they continue to be denied equal rights including voting representation.
As we saw so vividly in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has faced injustices that no
U.S. State would have to endure. The Puerto Rican people have demonstrated their preference for
statehood repeatedly, and they should be given a chance to cast a straightforward vote whose results will be respected: yes or no on statehood.
My departing colleague from south Florida will be greatly missed in this cause, and in so many others, but I know she will continue the fight as a private citizen. I will fight twice as hard in her absence to ensure equality for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans once and for all.
I will miss you, friend. “Te voy a extranar, amiga.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also spoke:
I have long supported the cause of statehood for Puerto Rico, but the lack of action on our part has kept Puerto Rico from having a voice and vote on this very floor, imperative for our great democracy. for over 100 years they have been proud citizens.
They have voted that they will no longer accept the territory status. Statehood will promote economic development and jobs on the island so these American citizens can have a better life and stop losing its people to the mainland after the devastating impacts of hurricanes.
Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon–that is her proper title, that is what it should be–whom I am proud to call my friend, has made statehood for Puerto Rico her priority, urging Republicans and Democrats alike, as you have heard, to act. We must listen and we mustdo what is right.
As chairman emeritus of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I recognize that statehood will enhance our national security, serving as our Nation’s third border in the Caribbean.
Mr. Speaker, the status quo is simply unacceptable. I urge my colleagues to support statehood for Puerto Rico.
Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba, was the first Latina elected to the U.S. Congress. She is retiring.