Freshman lawmaker stresses importance of cooperation

By John McPhaul

Rep. Deborah Soto Arroyo, a newly seated Popular Democratic Party legislator representing the 10th District in the island House of Representatives, said Thursday that one of the main keys to achieving effective work in the Toa Baja district is to maintain good communication with New Progressive Party Mayor Bernardo “Betito” Márquez and Citizen Victory Movement at-large Rep. José Bernardo Márquez.

“All of us can remain true to our ideals and convictions, while transcending party lines for the good of Toa Baja,” said Soto, who until December had worked as a social studies teacher at Carmen Barroso Morales School in Levittown. “The fact that we belong to different parties cannot be an impediment or put the development of Toa Baja at risk. For that reason, from day one I made that commitment to work as a team.”

“Times have changed, and people are tired of fights over politics,” Soto stressed. “The country is looking for leaders who are willing to put aside their differences to join forces for the well being of its people. That is the commitment we have made in Toa Baja.”

Soto said some of the measures promoted in the House of Representatives are aimed at investigating the physical condition of schools in the south and throughout Puerto Rico after the earthquakes that occurred early last year, and the disuse of school facilities after the closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, she said, measures should be drafted to promote economic stimulus for small and midsize businesses that have had to close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she will promote measures to train and empower women who have turned to self-employment and have started small businesses, on tax and government agency issues.

Soto emphasized the importance of promoting measures that oblige the island Department of Education to manage, in coordination with the Department of Health and the National Guard, mass COVID-19 vaccination and molecular testing for teaching and non-teaching staff of the Education Department, regardless of whether face-to-face education is resumed.

She added that she will push measures to order the Department of Education to guarantee that at each school campus there is staff available for the student body, regardless of whether distance education is maintained, to offer psychological, nursing and therapy services, as well as physical education, special education, theater, music and art, among other things.

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