Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) had a conversation with students at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics recently. A student asked about Puerto Rico’s political status.
“As a native Puerto Rican, every election season I see the results of my local election and wonder why as an American citizen I cannot vote or have equal representation when living on the Island,” the student asked. “With your experience as an attorney and consultant as well as a U.S. Congresswoman, why do you think Congress has not offered Puerto Rico a yes/no vote referendum on statehood as they did for Alaska and Hawaii in the 1950s?”
“They should, and I believe that Puerto Rico should be a state,” said Cheney. “I think it’s really important to look at the commitment of members on both sides on this issue.”
Cheney was referring here to the fact that both Republicans and Democrats support statehood for Puerto Rico. While some Republican members of Congress have been adamant about rejecting Puerto Rico’s admission as a state because they imagine that the Island would vote Democratic, there has been extensive Republican support for Puerto Rico statehood over the history of the Republican Party.
Puerto Rico is well represented
“Puerto Rico is currently represented by one of the most effective members of Congress in Jenniffer Gonzalez. She is really wonderful and works incredibly hard and is one of the most effective advocates for Puerto Rican statehood,” Cheney continued. “Puerto Rico is very well represented and I believe in statehood.”
While Cheney spoke of Puerto Rico being well supported because of the quality of the work and dedication of Rep. Gonzalez-Colon, the student was correct in saying that Puerto Rico does not have equal representation.
With no votes in the Electoral College, just one non-voting representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, and no U.S. senators, Puerto Rico cannot be described as having equal representation in the government that makes its laws.