PDP blasts González Colón and her bid to become governor
By John McPhaul
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González and PDP resident commissioner candidate Pablo José Hernández Rivera, in reaction to Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón’s announcement that she will challenge incumbent Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia in the New Progressive Party (NPP) primaries, said Thursday that she is part of the problem she is denouncing.
“Puerto Rico is definitely on the wrong track, as the resident commissioner stated in her message. She is on the wrong track with the government headed by her and Pedro Pierluisi,” Ortiz González said in a written statement. “Jenniffer González has been an accomplice of this government. Her message validates the denunciations we have been making, that reconstruction projects have stopped, that the LUMA [Energy] transaction has been a disaster, and that today Puerto Ricans are no better off than we were seven years ago. The country is clear. Puerto Rico does not deserve four more years of an NPP government.”
Hernández Rivera said meanwhile that “we have been choosing NPP resident commissioners for 20 years. They go to Washington for the interests of some: plebiscites.”
“We will go for the interests of all: development and economic well-being,” he said. “We were ready for Jenniffer González [as the NPP candidate for resident commissioner], and we are ready for whoever replaces her.”
In addition, Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago wrote on his Facebook account that “Jenniffer González has been part of the governments of Fortuño, Rosselló, Wanda [Vázquez Garced] and Pierluisi.”
“She is the author of Law 7, which raised taxes, fired thousands of public employees and caused the bankruptcy of Puerto Rico,” he said. “Jenniffer is the author of the laws that allowed the creation of LUMA.”
Dalmau Santiago said the NPP primary will give the people of Puerto Rico the opportunity to see who the NPP candidates truly are.
“Yes, today the people of Puerto Rico will know the truth of who those [candidates] are that ran together, who defended each other, who led us to privatization, the increases in the electricity rate, … to the increases [the water bill],” the Senate president said. “The most important thing about what she said yesterday was to accept that her government, of which she is a part, with which she has already teamed up, is on the wrong track.”
Pierluisi said Thursday that González’s message was “negative and pessimistic and undermines the administration of the NPP.”
“The important thing is that this primary takes place, that I win it decisively based on the work of the NPP, the progress of Puerto Rico in these two years and nine months of administration of the NPP,” the governor said at a press conference. “With positive messages, with optimistic messages. I am invited to speak outside of Puerto Rico to say precisely what is happening in Puerto Rico. With a negative, pessimistic attitude, Puerto Rico will not move forward. Count on Puerto Rico with me. I will continue to be governor of Puerto Rico for five years, three months and today exactly, three more days.”
Island Republican Party leader and former NPP senator Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer blasted González Colón on Thursday, saying in a radio interview that the resident commissioner is “an ambitious person who deceives the people.”
Ramírez de Ferrer added that if citizens elect her as governor, “they will regret it.”
“When she focuses on destroying someone, she doesn’t care if there’s friendship, there’s none of that,” Ramírez de Ferrer said. “She is about herself and herself all the time. She stuck to me like glue, I ran into buildings for her and campaigned for representative and when she [won], she didn’t know me. She’s fake, she’s a hoax.”
Before González Colón, an NPP vice president, announced her candidacy late Wednesday afternoon, Pierluisi confirmed that he would announce his candidacy for reelection this Sunday.
“In my case, I have said it consistently and this Sunday I will make my candidacy for re-election official,” the governor said. “I know I will be accompanied by the vast majority of elected officials. And why are they with me? Because they know that the NPP people support me.”
Pierluisi said he will support the NPP elected officials and candidates who support González Colón in the primary, as long as they do not enter into personal attacks.
“As a rule, I have always supported party incumbents, elected party officials, with very rare exceptions,” he said.
González Colón named former Toa Baja Mayor Aníbal Vega Borges as her campaign manager.
“[Vega Borges] is a respected person among his peers; he knows the political structure within my party,” she said. “In electoral terms, he is a very capable person and has mastered that field.”
For his part, Vega Borges invited Pierluisi to drop his reelection bid.
“The NPP still has a chance to avoid a primary,” he said in a television interview. “That is if Pedro Pierluisi steps down, meditates, analyzes and decides not to run for governor.”
Jaime Torres, president of the NPP Public Servants Organization, defended government employees affiliated with the statehood party against what he characterized as the attacks of the resident commissioner.
“In the NPP Public Servants Organization we have done many different things as an organization -- we invited you [González Colón], but you were very busy and you could not be with us,” Torres said Thursday in a written statement. “Unfortunately, you were very present supervising your Administration for particular interests that we have obviously already seen.”
“Dear Friend, I think we are not seeing the same Puerto Rico, where unemployment is at its lowest level in decades; where economic growth is on a steady rise; where job fairs come out empty because there is no labor available,” the statement added.
Maria Christie, the spokesperson for the Medicine Access Alliance, reacted positively to the news that González Colón had thrown her hat into the gubernatorial ring.
First, her candidacy puts pressure on other candidates to commit themselves to addressing health issues on the island, she said.
“Secondly, she [González Colón] has shown a real interest on the occasions we have visited her in her office in supporting the initiatives that we are carrying out,” Christie said.