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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor vows to find confirmable women’s advocate candidate

Former Interim Women’s Advocate Vilmarie Rivera Sierra

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Tuesday that he will seek a candidate for the Women’s Advocate Office “who does not arouse passions.”

“I have to renew the search, look for a suitable person to run that office,” the governor said at a press conference. “As soon as I identify it, I will make that designation. This just happened [interim Women’s Advocate Vilmarie Rivera Sierra’s withdrawal of her nomination last week], and now I have to ask my team to identify candidates. What happened is unfortunate because, well, every time I make a nomination and it doesn’t have the votes of the Senate, it’s a bad thing. Well, for the next appointment, I will have to make a great effort to try to find someone who passes that endorsement. ... It may take me a while because [I have to] try to ensure that the next appointee does not find a stumbling block like the one Vilmarie Rivera just found.”

Asked if Madeline Bermúdez, the new interim women’s advocate, could be formally appointed, Pierluisi replied, “What I can say is that she has been doing her job, but this is a difficult decision because the person I desire I have to make an almost superhuman effort to please a majority of the Senate.”

“Obviously, this is not easy,” he said. “… I have to find someone who … does not raise too many passions on one side and the other. We have a conservative sector and a progressive or liberal sector in that Senate and I have to try to reconcile this so that they approve someone with the majority of the votes.”

Likewise, Pierluisi recalled other appointees who were rejected by the Senate.

“At all times I defended the appointment. It was defended by my team,” the governor said. “Thank God this has not happened so much. It happened with Larry Seilhamer and it hurt me a lot. It happened with Judge Rodríguez Casillas and it hurt me a lot, to give two examples. Now it happened with Vilmarie Rivera and it also hurt me a lot.”

“Now, hundreds of appointments have been confirmed,” he added. “From time to time these things happen. They are not pleasant in the least and I am going to make a great effort because I realize what has happened here, to look for a person who will get the 14 votes that are necessary.”

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