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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

A House candidate pledges allegiance to his mountain roots

By The Star Staff

In Puerto Rico, some who live in rural areas don’t feel well represented in the central or municipal governments. This holds especially true for many who reside in the island’s central mountains, some of whom account for a large proportion of voters in their respective municipalities.

People from the mountain town of Utuado might be in line for political representation on the island level if Joe Colón has something to say about it.

Colón filed papers late last week with the State Election Commission to make official his candidacy for the District 22 seat in the island House of Representatives, which includes the towns of Utuado, Ciales, Lares, Jayuya and Adjuntas. Colón filed under the insignia of the New Progressive Party (NPP). District 22 is currently represented by Popular Democratic Party lawmaker Jorge Alfredo Rivera Segarra.

Colón, or Joito as he is called by those close to him, is a 37-year-old native of Utuado who works as an operational customer service supervisor in Arecibo for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). The holder of a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in criminal justice, Colón worked in the Municipality of Utuado for 15 years in various offices, such as public works, recycling and finance, and as liaison coordinator for then-mayor Alan González. He also worked in the office of Rep. Abid Quiñonez.

At PRASA, Colón was senior director of the Arecibo-Utuado region until last July.

An NPP activist from a very young age and a former president of the NPP Youth, Colón is a faithful believer in statehood as the vehicle to achieve equality for all in Puerto Rico. He has served as a school official and as vice president of the NPP in Utuado.

“Today I take a step forward for my simple and humble people from my towns, those of us who get up every day and work hard, those of us who support our island and those of us who are forgotten, who, like me, are trampled on and sometimes underestimated,” Colón said. “Because representing them is not and will not be taken lightly, today we delivered all the documentation to the State Election Commission. As a public servant I know that it will not be an easy path, since like most people who know me and those who will know me, know and will know that I do not have, nor will I have, a commitment to big interests, but that I will be a representative of hard work and dedication, not of self-interest. As a man of my word, I can assure you that I will be the present representative that we have always longed for in Utuado, Ciales, Lares, Jayuya and Adjuntas. I am ready to be the strong voice. #Let’s go together.”

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