Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is visiting Puerto Rico with a group of New York elected officials. The delegation includes City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr., New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.
“New York and Puerto Rico have a special relationship bound in heritage, history, culture and family – and when times are tough we stand side by side and offer whatever help we can,” said Governor Cuomo. “The current situation in Puerto Rico has become unsustainable and is threatening the livelihoods of millions of people – many with strong connections to New York. This trip is about stepping up for Puerto Rico and its people, and I look forward to working together with our partners to help address this crisis.”
Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who campaigned for Cuomo for the last election, invited Cuomo to visit Puerto Rico for the discussion.
There are were health care professionals in the group, and it was reported that Dennis Rivera, formerly leader of the health care workers union, is one of the advisers for the trip.
The delegation is meeting with Puerto Rico’s leadership on the subject of Puerto Rico’s financial crisis. The New York governor has pledged to share his state’s expertise with Puerto Rican officials, especially in the areas of economic development and health care. Cuomo has spoken out on the need for equality for Puerto Rico in federal medical programs and is in favor of extending Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to include Puerto Rico just as the provision applies to the fifty states.
Governor Cuomo says that the problems of Puerto Rico hit close to home for his state. New York State has the largest population of people of Puerto Rican heritage apart from the island itself, though the Puerto Rican population in Florida is growing at a rapid pace.
“I thank Governor Cuomo for leading this trip to Puerto Rico to continue to push for an adequate response from the federal government to the crisis on the island,” stated New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “New York and Puerto Rico are inextricably linked, since our state is home to one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the U.S. We need to work together to raise our voice and call on the federal government to act now to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters before it is too late. I will continue to work with Governor Cuomo, the Puerto Rican and federal governments to find a resolution to the crisis facing the island. The Puerto Rican community has contributed greatly to this nation’s society, culture, armed forces and beyond. This trip is our way of saying that we will not abandon them now at this time of need.”
The group left for Puerto Rico in the afternoon on September 7 and returns early this evening.