Ex-Gov. Rosselló Nevares ready to lobby for statehood if elected as write-in delegate candidate

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

Former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, who resigned on July 24, 2019 under pressure from 12 days of demonstrations ignited by revelations from the infamous Telegram chat, confirmed in a radio interview that he is accepting a write-in nomination as a candidate for congressional delegate from Puerto Rico in the special election that will take place on Sunday.

During an exclusive interview Thursday on the radio program “A Palo Limpio” on NotiUno 630, hosted by former Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario, Rosselló said he would be available to lobby for statehood at the U.S. Capitol if he were elected in the special polling event, which is estimated to be costing the State Election Commission around $1.6 million to stage.

“I am not going to reject it,” Rosselló said. “I am going forward if that is the will of the people.”

The ex-governor went on to say that he sees the statehood outlook for Puerto Rico as positive.

“I have always continued with this fight, because it is a cause, and today I see an opportunity like never before,” Rosselló said when asked if he sees a chance for the island to become a state of the union.

Meanwhile, Rosselló said he would not accept the $170,000 annual salary that the elected delegates are expected to receive. He said it is not necessary to be paid for a movement he supports.

He also said U.S. President Joe Biden supports statehood for Puerto Rico and that the discussion on granting statehood to Washington, D.C. helps the Puerto Rico statehood cause. Both issues should be discussed together, he said.

A special election under Law 167

Sunday’s special election comes from Law 167-20, which was enacted last December by then-Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced and established an electoral event to select delegates for statehood following a plebiscite conducted during the prior general elections, where statehood received 52% of the voters’ support.

Six delegates are expected to be chosen from an official field of 10; two will lobby in the U.S. Senate, and the other four in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On the ballot as Senate delegate candidates are former Correction and Rehabilitation Secretary Zoraida Buxo, retired Gen. Víctor S. Pérez, former New Progressive Party (NPP) mayoral candidate for Caguas Roberto Jesús López Román and former NPP Rep. Melinda Romero Donnelly.

For the House, meanwhile, the candidates are “La Premisa Inarticulada” host Elizabeth Torres Rodríguez, Adriel Jared Vélez Torres, former Ponce Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez Altieri, Jorge Iván Rodríguez Feliciano, Luis Lefranc Fortuño and Ricardo Andrés Marrero Passapera.

Several people in addition to Rosselló are seeking to become a statehood delegate by write-in nomination, including former Puerto Rico Police Bureau Federal Monitor Arnaldo Claudio and former NPP Sen. Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer.

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