By John McPhaul
Attorney Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz, president of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association and Villalba’s mayor, officially filed his candidacy for the At Large Senator for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) ballot in the November elections next year.
Accompanied by his wife, daughters, immediate family and leaders such as the president of the PDP, Jesús Manuel Ortiz, Javi, as he is known by the popular party members, outlined the most important points that will guide his political path.
In his message to those present, Hernández Ortiz outlined the most important issues on his agenda. “I am going to the Senate to attend to the population of functional diversity, their development process in the Department of Education, as well as the follow-up after completing their studies and access to work. In the same way, I am going to attend to the reality of these people with functional diversity and their care after they are left alone or are elderly.”
Regarding economic development, “I am going to the Senate to improve the way business is done in Puerto Rico, open the doors to the free energy market and maximize mini-grids such as the Mountain Consortium;; help SMEs and strengthen the private sector. In the same way, maximize the resources of reconstruction in partnership with the private sector.”
As a municipal leader, Hernández Ortiz will continue to defend the essential services provided by municipalities, “because we have to bring the Essential Services Fund to $150 million, which is a fair figure given the large number of services provided by municipalities. In the same way, I seek the decentralization of government and the effective efficient control of the use of public funds.”
On the first floor of the PDP headquarters packed with enthusiastic supporters, Hernóndez Ortíz thanked former Gov. Sila Maria Calderon, former San Juan Mayor Hector Luis Acevedo, PDP candidate Pablo José Hernández Rivera, former New Progressive Party (NPP) senator for San Juan, Carlos Diaz, as well as Enid Monge and Frankie Guerra for their presence. candidates for the Senate for Carolina, as well as Elba Beatriz Rivera, candidate for the House for Precinct 5, Manuel Calderón Cerame, from Precinct 4, Gabriel López Arrieta, At Large candidate for the House, Nina Valedón, candidate for the Senate for Humacao and Ivonne Lozada, candidató for the Senate for San Juan.
The presidents of both bodies, José Luis Dalmau and Rafael Hernández participated in the meeting, as well as the candidate for mayor of San Juan, Terestella González Denton, and legislators Héctor Ferrer Santiago, Chui Hernández, Juan José Santiago, Marially González, José Rivera Madera, Jesús Santa, Ramoncito Ruiz Nieves and the mayors of Cidra, Ángel David Concepción, of Juncos, Alfredo Papo Alejandro and the interim mayor of Ponce, Marlese Sifre, as well as Josian Santiago of Comerío, Christian Cortés of Aguada, Jerry Márquez of Luquillo, Tito Ramírez of Arecibo, Miraidaliz Rosario of Naguabo, Rafael Billy Burgos of Santa Isabel, Marcos Cruz of Vega Baja and the mayor of Yabucoa, Rafael ‘Rafy’ Surillo, who offered their endorsement to the Mayor.
In these elections, the PDP has determined that it will nominate four candidates for At Large Senate, Precisely this past Thursday, the president of the Popular Party and Hernández Ortiz presented the work plan that will be executed for the next few months by the group in charge of drafting the Institutional Government Plan of the state-owned institution.
Last April, Hernández Ortiz reported that last fiscal year the Municipality of Villalba maintained an operating surplus of $1.2 million, as certified by the report of the external auditing firm and CPA Rey Meléndez, who serves as financial advisor to dozens of Puerto Rican municipalities. “Last year we also closed with an operating surplus, as in previous years. Our administrative success is also evidenced by the dramatic reduction of the accumulated deficit to almost 50%, that is, from an inherited debt of $13 million, which has now been reduced to $7.5 million. This is despite the fact that the government took away about $20 million in recurring funds from the municipalities over the past few years,” he told reporters.
“All that positive experience, all that effort to work as a team to advance the municipal agenda, which is the agenda of the people, we are going to take it to the Senate for the benefit of all of Puerto Rico,” said the Mayor. One of its most recognized projects is the Mountain Energy Consortium, which was born precisely as a municipal solution to the energy crisis experienced after Hurricane Maria.
It promotes the use of the Toro Negro Hydroelectric Power Plant as part of a renewable energy and energy self-sufficiency project in the mountainous area of the island.
“There we have in practice the principle of teamwork, where mayors of both parties work together for the well-being of citizens. That is the spirit of viable ideas and action without excuses that we are going to take to the Senate,” Hernández Ortiz concluded.