González Colón sworn in again as new US Congress is seated
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
For the third time in a row, Jenniffer González Colón was sworn in Sunday as the Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. as the 117th Congress of the United States House of Representatives convened.
The U.S. Constitution requires that new elected congressional members be sworn in and vote for the next House speaker on Jan. 3. González Colón, a national Republican and a leader of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party on the island, was present and took the oath to begin her third two-year term on Capitol Hill. She was re-elected after receiving 41.18% of the vote (512,697 votes) in the Nov. 3 elections. Former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (Popular Democratic Party) received 32% of the vote, followed by Zayira Jordán Conde (Citizen’s Victory Movement) with 12.9%, Ada Norah Henríquez (Dignity Project) with 7.8% and Luis Roberto Piñero (Puerto Rican Independence Party) with 6.4%.
Earlier in the day, González Colón tweeted that she had “just picked up my pin and voting card” minutes before members of the House of Representatives were to vote for either Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to take the helm of the lower chamber. Pelosi won narrowly, receiving 216 votes to 209 for McCarthy, who again will be the chamber’s minority leader, according to an Associated Press report.
“Ready for all the things we will achieve for our Island in this new Congress. A privilege to represent my people in Washington, D.C.!” tweeted the resident commissioner on her Spanish-language account while attaching a snapshot of her newly obtained pin.
As resident commissioner, González Colón cannot vote on legislation but can participate in both hearings and debates in Congress, submit bills, advocate for her jurisdiction at federal agencies and address the plenary session on behalf of Puerto Rico’s constituents.
In an interview with the STAR published on Oct. 19, the resident commissioner said that if she was re-elected to Congress she was going to advocate for the permanent repeal of air cabotage laws and for making the rum excise duty refund permanent, which she said would preserve more than $400 million annually for Puerto Rico.
González Colón also said she will continue the fight to eliminate the $350 million cap that limits health funding on the island.
She further told the Star that she will legislate for permanent incentives “that are tied to the law” for workers in the local manufacturing industry.