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PDP gubernatorial candidate aims to make González Colón run on NPP record

Popular Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Jesús Manuel Ortiz González

By John McPhaul

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Jesús Manuel Ortiz González said his strategy to take on his New Progressive Party (NPP) rival Jenniffer González Colón is clear: shackle her to the last three NPP governors.

“She cannot distance herself from the disasters that the last three NPP governors have made,” Ortiz said this week in an exclusive interview with the STAR.

Ortiz said he plans to lead a renewed party, integrating mayors and legislators in a unified push to take power in November’s elections.

He said his party currently has a war chest of $600,000 and that raising campaign funds “is the most important challenge that we have,” especially considering that the governing NPP “use government workers like an ATM.”

Ortiz said he plans to carry forward a multi-faceted campaign to combat the outmigration of Puerto Ricans to the mainland. With the exodus of young people who can’t find jobs combined with an aging population, “we are going to have a Puerto Rico without people,” he said.

The governing strategy begins with making health services more efficient, overhauling the island’s education system and bringing down the cost of living, he said.

The one-time journalist and now legislator in the island House of Representatives said he plans to start the effort to renew the island’s education system by strengthening the University of Puerto Rico.

Ortiz, 46, said his government would carry out a “conglomeration of initiatives” to keep young people from leaving the island.

“The migration of young people keeps increasing and we have to have an education system that prepares them for jobs that are created here on the island,” said Ortiz, who earned his bachelor’s degree in communications at Inter-American University of Puerto Rico after graduating from Escuela Superior Maestro Ladí in Vega Alta.

At the other end of the demographic spectrum are the elderly, who in increasing numbers are being left to fend for themselves by outmigrating youth.

“We hope to create friendly cities for the elderly and foment the arrival of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for our old people,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said he plans to use, in equal measures, mass media and pressing the flesh in his campaign.

“I want the people to know who I am using the media, but I also want to have contact with the people,” he said.

Ortiz said he plans to work hand-in-hand with PDP resident commissioner candidate Pablo José Hernández Rivera, PDP mayors and municipal legislatures and candidates to, through the course of the campaign, forge a renewed PDP capable of carrying out the party’s ideals.

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