In a press conference this week, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon rejected the idea that she will leave her current post to become Governor of Puerto Rico. She said that there is no constitutional crisis and “Puerto Rico is back to normal.”
Gonzalez-Colon asked Governor Wanda Vazquez to join her in visiting the White House to show “unity” and normalcy. Her hope, she explained, is to reassure the federal government and get aid back on track.
Accusations of corruption and instability in the Island’s government have led some members of the federal government to slow or reduce funding for Puerto Rico. The White House issued a statement saying, “The unfortunate events of the past week in Puerto Rico prove the president’s concerns about mismanagement, politicization and corruption have been valid.”
The White House called for the funds approved by Congress for Puerto Rico to be separated from those for states and restricted while Puerto Rico regroups from upheavals in its government.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) told NPR, “You’re going to see more demand for oversight, more controls on the part of the federal government of the relief and the assistance going to Puerto Rico. You’re going to see more restrictions and more strings to any support that goes there.”
The Government Accountability Office’s report on disaster aid already indicated that extra red tape was one of the reasons that Puerto Rico has received so little of the money allocated for disaster relief.
“Let’s get to work!”
Gonzalez-Colon visited with Governor Vazquez to discuss legislation she has been working on in Washington, and to invite the governor to join her in those efforts “for the good of all Puerto Rico.”
She acknowledged that she had been approached about the governorship, but said firmly that “there is no vacancy in the governor’s office” and said there is work to do. The people of Puerto Rico are ready to end the uncertainty and the crisis, Gonzalez-Colon said. She intends to work on rebuilding the Island’s credibility.