On November 15, 2010, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi, addressed the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association at George Washington University to discuss the importance of Puerto Rican statehood and the upcoming status plebiscite on the Island. In his remarks, Pierluisi stressed his belief that the question of statehood has both “a moral component and a practical component” and that statehood “is both the most principled status choice and the most prudent status choice.”
He urged doubters to join him on a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center or Bethesda Naval Hospital to see young Puerto Rican soldiers who have been seriously wounded in combat “to bring democracy and equality to millions of citizens of foreign nations.” Pierluisi further explained that these soldiers “have risked their lives – and, in many case, given their lives – to secure for others the basic rights that they and their fellow Puerto Ricans are unable to enjoy themselves.”
The resident commissioner also cited the examples of Alaska and Hawaii, for which statehood represented economic gains and raised the standard of living. Pierluisi emphasized that “statehood for Alaska and Hawaii enhanced and enriched the United States as a whole, creating a better, stronger and more diverse nation.”
Pierluisi was a founding member of the organization during his student days at George Washington University.