Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled a plan for Latino citizens of the United States. The plan, titled “El Pueblo Unido,” is available in Spanish or in English. The plan lists two specific actions he wants to take to support Puerto Rico:
- Provide political representation for Puerto Rico.
- Eliminate disparities in Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is currently represented in Congress by a single non-voting member, and receives significantly less Medicaid funding than it would as a State.
“We’ve got to do better,” Buttigieg said in a video he posted at YouTube.
Puerto Rico news source El Nuevo Día reported that Buttigieg said in his plan, “Puerto Rico must have immediate representation in the Electoral College, and if the people of Puerto Rico want statehood, that should be welcome.” This statement is not part of the “El Pueblo Unido” plan as published online, but can be found on Buttigieg’s “Candidate Policy Positions” page.
El Nuevo Día also quoted the plan as saying, “Currently, the Puerto Rico Medicaid program receives block grants that are insufficient to meet the population’s Medicaid needs. Pete is going to fully fund the Puerto Rico Medicaid program as those programs are funded in the states.” This statement was not found in the online version of the plan, but is in keeping with the proposal to “Eliminate disparities in Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico.”
Buttigieg has spoken out previously for political representation for Puerto Rico. In a podcast, he said, “Look the Puerto Ricans have some decisions to make but even there, I think on day one, I would make the case that they should at least have a voice in the electoral process for the presidency.”
Polls show that Puerto Rican voters living in States, who have the right to vote in presidential elections, typically favor statehood for Puerto Rico. Voters on the Island, who can vote in presidential primaries, also favor statehood by a wide margin. Expressing openness to statehood for Puerto Rico could be a strong strategic move to reach these voters as the Presidential primary season approaches.