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Jeb Bush Strongly Endorses Puerto Rico Statehood

Jeb Bush announced unequivocal support for Puerto Rico statehood during a visit to the U.S. territory today.

“I think Puerto Rican citizens, U.S. citizens, ought to have the right to determine if they want to be a State,” he said.  “I think statehood is the best path, personally.  I’ve believed that for a long, long while.”   Bush further explained, “to get the full benefits and responsibilities of citizenship, being a state is the only path to make that happen.”

Bush also called on Puerto Rico to hold a simple up-or-down vote for statehood and added that “the next President… has a duty to make sure they use their influence to make sure Congress acts on this.”

He called Puerto Rican self determination a question of principle or morality, not a political question.

Puerto Rico last addressed the status question in a 2012 plebiscite.  The two-part ballot first asked voters whether they would like to continue with Puerto Rico’s current territorial status and then asked voters which status option they preferred from among the viable alternatives: statehood, independence and free association.  Fifty-four percent of voters rejected Puerto Rico’s territorial status and 61% chose statehood.

Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla rejected the referendum vote because the ballot did not include a “commonwealth” option in the second question.  Although Puerto Rico often called a “commonwealth,” the label is actually just a word in the official title of the government of Puerto Rico, just as it is in the states of Massachusetts, Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Since 1952, the term “commonwealth,” has evolved to describe a potential relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico in which Puerto Rico is given special rights and privileges greater than those enjoyed by states. Such proposals have been soundly rejected by legal authorities and policy makers for both constitutional and practical reasons.

If Bush decides to run for President, he will not be the first candidate to firmly endorse statehood for Puerto Rico.  As a candidate, President Ronald Reagan explained in a February, 1980 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that he supported Puerto Rico statehood:

When I formally announced my intention to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, my televised speech to the nation included a commitment to not only support statehood for Puerto Rico if the people of the island Commonwealth desire statehood.  It also included a commitment that, as President, I would initiate statehood legislation, which really means that I would take the lead in persuading the people of Puerto Rico – the mainland United States – all American citizens – that statehood will be good for all of us.

At the event today, moderated by former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, Bush also discussed his experience campaigning for his father, former President George H.W. Bush, in Puerto Rico for three months during the 1980 election. “I I loved the passion,” he explained, “I loved the intensity.” Although the U.S. Constitution does not permit Puerto Ricans to vote for President through the Electoral College, Puerto Ricans can vote in presidential primaries.

Former President George H.W. Bush has also expressed support for Puerto Rican statehood.  In his 1989 State of the Union address, he said, “I’ve long believed that the people of Puerto Rico should have the right to determine their own political future. Personally, I strongly favor statehood. But I urge the Congress to take the necessary steps to allow the people to decide in a referendum.”

7 thoughts on “Jeb Bush Strongly Endorses Puerto Rico Statehood”

  1. Let’s not forget to emphasize the fact that “commonwealth” WAS on the ballot… it was actually the first thing asked.

    “Commonwealth” IS the status QUO…

    This IS what was rejected in the first question of the 2012 plebiscite with a clear majority.

  2. I would like to join 51 statehood with USA but rumored that they would have to pay 3taxes they are afraid to earn small money after pay 3 taxes I don’t know which taxes they have to pay

  3. The taxes that will be paid will be paid relevant to the income earned. If you do not make enough money to pay federal taxes… then you will not end up paying them. That’s the way it is right now in every state.

    El gobierno de Estados Unidos no te va a poner a pagar impuestos si no tienes los ingeresos.

    De hecho en programas federales nada mas, a primera instancia se beneficia la ciudadanía Puertorriqueña de primera instancia. Aumentarían los ingresos generals y bajaría el costo de vida dado a que el gobierno local de Puerto Rico tendría que tomar menos prestado para operar al corresponderle una recurrencia de sobre 10Billones anuales libre de intereses aun manteniendo la libertad de tomar prestado de asi ser necesario.

    Por eso es que PR no se puede comparar de tu a tu con cualquier estado en terminos de si es mas o menos pobre. Cada estado recibe una partida de fondos federales anuales que estan en los BILLONES largos. Estas sumas son asignadas por ser meramente eso… un estado. Es como se reparte el bacalao en la nacion… y por lo tanto jamás se puede comparar a PR con un estado en términos económicos pues obviamente los estados por el mero hecho de ser estados estarán major económicamente. (Nosotros solo tenemos un representante sin voto (El comisionado residente) cuando se supone que como estado tuviesemos 2 senadores y como mínimo 4 Representates los cuales, tal como hacen los de los otros estados, se dedicarían a jalar chavos y programas para Puerto Rico)

    Este espejismo COLONIAL y la desinformación de las masas en conjunto con el miedo de que perderan su cultura (cuando en NY hay Puertorriqueños que nunca han vivido en PR y preservan nuestra cultrua major que los mismo Puertorriqueños de Cataño).

  4. Screw the taxes, how many of us in the mainland don’t want to even consider moving to PR because we would lose the right to vote? Become a state, and PR is the new hot spot for people to retire! We will come visit in droves and a lot of us will decide to stay. Look at Hawaii.

  5. Before I came to live in PR back in the early 80’s I assumed that any Puerto Rican in their right mind would give anything to became a state of the USA. How wrong I was. Puerto Rico is a land physically separate from the US (yes, I am aware that Hawaii and Alaska are too) with a unique and vibrant culture. Statehood for PR would be the proverbial square peg in the round hole, a very bad idea for both PR and the US. It is time for the UN General Assembly to return PR to the list of Non-selfgoverning territories and for the US to allow movement of PR toward true nationhood. We have stood in the way too long.

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