Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, calling for statehood for the island territory, urged the Senate, particularly those on the Republican side of the aisle, not to prejudge voters and to remember that Puerto Ricans are American citizens who should have the same rights as people who live in the states.
“How can it be that you have 3.2 million American citizens residing in Puerto Roco and just because they reside there, they do not have, they cannot vote for president,” the governor said during an appearance on “The ChuckToddCast” podcast this week.
“They don’t have voting representation in Congress. And they do not participate in federal programs on the same basis as their fellow citizens in the States. You Chuck, you move tomorrow to Puerto Rico, and you will be losing a lot of rights. And it makes no sense.”
Pierluisi said he prefers to get the presidential vote for Puerto Rico through a statehood bill, and he pointed out that there is also a significant number of voters there who could be considered conservative.
“When the time comes, let’s talk about the presidency,” he said. “It’ll depend on the candidates and the commitments he or she makes, to Puerto Rico primarily. In terms of the members of Congress, it’ll be roughly the same. In Puerto Rico, you do have a sector of the population that is pretty conservative, on social, you may call it moral issues.”
He said he expects the House will support a statehood bill, and that will put pressure on the Senate.
He also noted that Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., has in the past expressed support for Puerto Rico’s statehood, which could help swing the Senate’s tie vote.
“Sen. Scott has called me on several occasions ever since I assumed office ever since I won the election, to offer help to volunteer to assist us to count on him, so I see him as an ally,” said Pierluisi.
Meanwhile, the governor predicted that Puerto Rico will undergo debt restructuring within a year.
“The oversight board we have in Puerto Rico (is) about to submit a plan of adjustment to the federal court that is overseen this bankruptcy process,” he said. “It might take a year, but within a year, we should have this debt restructuring behind us.”
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