PDP leaders accuse resident commissioner of discriminatory voting pattern in Congress
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Luis Vega Ramos, along with PDP House of Representatives at-large candidate Keyliz Méndez and San Juan District 4 candidate Manuel Calderón Cerame accused Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón on Tuesday of supporting President Donald Trump’s “agenda of hate, discrimination, and corruption.”
Vega Ramos said during a press conference at PDP headquarters in San Juan’s Puerta de Tierra sector that González Colón’s legislative voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives showed “discrimination against minorities, discrimination against Mexicans, discrimination against Puerto Ricans, discrimination against women, discrimination against the LGBTT community.”
The PDP lawmaker and legislative candidates revealed documents where González Colón did not show up for the voting session, despite being in Congress, when a proposal by New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Córtez (D-N.Y.) was being considered that sought to prohibit the use of the armed forces against immigrants and their children at a time of heightening tensions on the United States-Mexico border due to the number of people crossing to American soil in search of better opportunities.
“We already know that, for a whole year, she hid from the country that on July 11, 2019, at 2:04 in the afternoon, while the Department of Defense budget was being considered, she voted against an amendment presented by California Democratic congresswoman Jackie Speier that established a prohibition on including criteria related to the race, color, national origin, religion or sex -- including gender identity or sexual orientation -- of an individual when occupying positions and serving in the armed forces,” Vega Ramos said, adding that the bill passed with 242 votes in favor and 187 votes against, González Colón’s vote included.
Vega Ramos, who is running for an at-large seat in the Puerto Rico Senate, said González Colón voted against another proposal that would extend the prohibition on contracting with the federal government to the president, vice president, and members of the cabinet as a response to the scandal involving the receipt of funds for the use of hotels owned by the Republican president. Furthermore, he said, the resident commissioner did not participate in a vote on requiring the executive branch to provide all the necessary guidelines and resources to protect airport Transportation Security Administration workers, which includes Puerto Rico, and refused to vote on a measure to establish stricter controls under the Environmental Protection Agency on the use by multinational companies of chemicals in consumer products that reach the 50 states and Puerto Rico.
“The Republican Jenniffer González owes an explanation to the people of Puerto Rico and the Hispanic community in the United States, on whom she turned her back,” Vega Ramos said.
Meanwhile, Calderón Cerame said the resident commissioner has “always shone for her complicity with the New Progressive Party [NPP] and with the Republicans when it comes to violating people’s rights.”
“We cannot forget that when the NPP and [then-Gov.] Ricardo Rosselló eliminated gender perspective from the education curriculum in our schools, implemented by the [previous] PDP administration and [former Gov.] Alejandro García Padilla, Jenniffer was silent and said nothing,” he said. “As recently as yesterday, Monday, at a press conference, the [resident] commissioner, in her customary style of throwing mud at her political adversaries, stated that ‘that is what happens when one is not consistent with the things that one believes, when one is not honest with people,’ and today I demand that Jenniffer apply her own words and stop being dishonest with our people.”
Méndez urged NPP president and gubernatorial candidate Pedro Pierluisi to express himself and say if he endorses the positions of his running mate or if, on the contrary, she said, he is going to take her to task as islanders expect.
“The same thing happened when voting against extending the prohibitions on hiring high-ranking officials with the federal government while they hold public office, which is contradictory to the anti-corruption discourse that she [González Colón] proclaims on the island,” Mendez said. “Here she talks about the environment and the workers, but there [in Congress], when it comes to voting for that legislation, she disappears.”