Hillary Promises to Help Puerto Ricans Decide on Statehood or Independence
Hillary Clinton today promised Puerto Ricans she would "would vigorously advance plans that would enable Puerto Rico to decide if it wants to remain a commonwealth or become a U.S. state or an independent nation."
Puerto Rico has been a commonwealth since 1952. Its residents are almost equally divided on whether it should change its status:
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but cannot vote for president, and their representation in Congress is restricted to a single nonvoting member. National party conventions provide islanders a rare chance to have a direct say in Washington.
Big Tent Democrat is the resident expert on Puerto Rico. I don't know his position on Puerto Rico's future.
I will mention that I began visiting Puerto Rico in high school. My parents moved to Puerto Rico when I started law school and I spent every school break there for three years. (They then moved to Florida and then to Denver.)
So I have very warm feelings for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans, and strongly believe they should be allowed to determine their own status.
Puerto Rico holds its primary on June 1. It will award 62 delegates, 7 of them superdelegates to the Democratic Convention.
In her campaign's Monday statement, Clinton also pledged to provide new tax benefits to create jobs in Puerto Rico, which is struggling through a second year of recession, and to return some federal land on the outlying island of Vieques to local residents.
Clinton was among several New York politicians who had been vocal supporters of halting military exercises in Vieques, which had provoked protests that contributed to the U.S. decision to end maneuvers in 2003.
I'm glad to see Hillary make this kind of promise to them. More on Hillary's new policy statement from the Wall St. Journal:
Today, Hillary Clinton released a policy agenda to put more policemen in Puerto Rico, bring universal health care to the island, create new jobs and work to have the federal government give up land on Vieques island, where the Navy formerly operated a bombing range. Her plan today is also designed to lift the cap on Medicaid there, and to extend President Bush’s latest budget proposal to include aid to Puerto Ricans.
“As first lady and senator from New York—with a million constituents of Puerto Rican origin and people moving back and forth—she has worked closely with Puerto Rican leaders,” the campaign said in a statement.
Hillary is favored to win Puerto Rico. I think her new policy agenda is another sign she has no intention of abandoning her campaign.
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