Tim Kaine Is Thinking about Puerto Rico

In an interview with  El Nuevo Dia, Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia), the Democratic vice presidential candidate, answered a number of questions about Puerto Rico.

Kaine affirmed that the plebiscite in November 2012 was a clear rejection of the current territorial status. “I think those were clear results in 2012,” Kaine said.

In the 2012 vote, 54% of voters who answered the first question said that they did not want to remain a territory; 61% of those who answered the second question chose statehood as their preferred status.

Kaine said that Clinton intends to work  “with advocates of all persuasions to answer the fundamental question of [Puerto Rico’s] political status” while also reminding readers that the options for the planned new referendum funded in 2014 must be approved by the Department of Justice.

Either way, Kaine emphasized, he rejects the idea of colonialism for Puerto Rico. “Whatever the status, no matter what we do on status, we must make clear that we are all Americans and Puerto Ricans are US citizens and that we do not have a relationship of a superior and an inferior. A relationship of equals. We need to make that clear.”

Kaine also said, “We must look at other areas where we can help Puerto Rico; for example, lower energy costs… Puerto Rico has also been hit by the high costs of medical care. The way we treat the territories versus states in reimbursing health programs, is very, very different… US citizens are US citizens and when you face situations where reimbursement is so drastically different, you not only lose medical professionals, doctors, but people are going to seek health services elsewhere.”

Puerto Rico has been seeing a severe loss of doctors and other medical professionals, as well as an overall population drain to the U.S. mainland.

Kaine made a statement about Puerto Rico following the Senate vote on PROMESA which included many of the same themes:

“The 3.5 million people who call Puerto Rico home are American citizens, and they deserve better. For years, Puerto Ricans have faced uncertainty about their jobs and livelihoods due to an unsustainable debt situation. This bill is far from perfect, but it is necessary. On Friday Puerto Rico would have faced a default on the debt, which would have pushed the island into uncharted waters and put into jeopardy the viability of essential public services like law enforcement, first responders, and health care workers. Due to the consequences of inaction, I voted in favor of this legislation. I do wish the Senate could have considered amendments to better protect the residents of Puerto Rico’s interests and to give them a stronger voice in the process. This bill is the first step in a long journey toward helping Puerto Rico and I look forward to continuing to engage on this issue.”

4 Comments

Luis Arroyo

Tim Kaine is such a liar.
His Democrat Party Platform, (Unlike the GOP pro statehood platform) literally avoids the word “statehood”, repeats the generic language acceptable to their PPD friends in PR, “We support PR right to self determination”. Even mentions “improving the commonwealth “, contradicting it’s claims calling for a choice among constitutional options.

Dennis

Your first statement is very much at odds with who and what Tim Kaine is. He is one of the most honest, and real people in politics today. Regardless as to his party affiliation, he is someone who has earned the respect and trust of the people here in Virginia. You should focus your anger on your current Governor, who even now refuses to tap into that money set aside for the official referendum. Hold that referendum and choose your path. Either way you folks down there choose, there are plenty of us up here that will support you.

Luis Arroyo

You are absolutely right about the despot Governor & his refusal to hold the referendum during his administration for fear of massive pro statehood backlash.
In fact, he’s so dispuse by the electorate, he stepped aside from seeking a second term. He chose his “rubberstamp” secretary of David Bernier to run in his place. Bernier co signed all of Gov Padilla’s unpopular tax increases, railed against PROMESA & “DECLARO GUERRA CONTRA JUNTA” Declared “war” against PROMESA (Failed lobbying attempt to derail legislation).
He now claims to be the opposite of Gov Garcia Padilla & his campaign slogan is…”A new way of understanding politics” Bernier claims hell do a statehood yes/no vote.

Thats *NOT* what the $2.5 million assigned by Congress is for. Its for a Federally funded plebiscite with CONSTITUTIONALLY VALID OPTIONS (*OPTIONS*) BETWEEN STATEHOOD AND SEPARATE SOVEREIGNTY IN NATIONHOOD W/WO FREE ASSOCIATION.

This is PPD deception.
Bernier’s PPD will campaign heavily for “NO”.
They won’t define the definition (consequences) of a “NO” victory against statehood. But it’s obvious the PPD seeks to interpret a “NO” win as a trigger for a “constitutional assembly on status” where PPD will propose a mode of Free Association (associated independence) to DC.

This, of course is assuming the PPD somehow avoids loses in Nov 8th.

Dennis

While I agree that the options should be Statehood or Independence, I think the Free Association part should be left to be determined if Statehood loses. Having more than 2 options means that more than half the voters could vote against one option, but that option still wins with a plurality. Two options makes it a very clear choice.

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