By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, who is also the New Progressive Party president, said Thursday that his gubernatorial primary opponent Jenniffer González Colón’s running mate, Elmer Román González, lacks a pro-statehood track record.
“The two candidates for resident commissioner who support me, who support my re-election [William Villafañe Ramos and José Enrique “Quiquito” Meléndez Ortiz], have a proven track record in favor of stability, in favor of the equality as American citizens that we lack,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “And that, for me, is the main credential of anyone who aspires to the resident commissioner post under the insignia of La Palma. The two who support my re-election, both do have a proven track record in favor of statehood. They are statehooders by birth; they have participated in countless forums to inform and educate our people about the benefits of statehood and our ideals. And that for me is the main thing.”
Pierluisi said Román González has no chance of being elected in the primary.
“Because the penepés are statehooders first, and then comes the rest,” he said. “And I’m sure they’re going to want a proven statehooder with a proven track record in Washington, That’s my feeling, so who’s going to prevail on that day we’ll know.”
The governor said he doesn’t believe that Román González’s military career will give him an advantage in the primary.
“The important thing here is that whoever is going to advocate for statehood, for equality, has credibility, has experience advocating that idea,” he reiterated.
On Sunday, the current resident commissioner in Washington, González Colón, and Román González will file the documents that make official their candidacies for governor and resident commissioner, respectively.
Meanwhile, former Sen. Nelson Cruz Santiago said the resident commissioner’s move to name Román González as her running mate has the governor’s team worried and scared, while Gurabo Mayor Rosachely Rivera Santana said “I think it’s an extraordinary selection of a public servant with very particular qualities.”
“As I said a few days ago, we will support him and I have no doubt that the candidate selected by our next governor will win the progressive vote and all those who identify with him and evaluate him on his merits that make him unique for this candidacy,” Rivera Santana said.
Vega Alta Mayor María Vega Pagán added that “we have a military statesman, engineer, diplomat and Puerto Rican; Elmer Román is not a traditional public servant.”
“He is a soldier who always returns home after each mission and whose exploits speak for him,” she said. That is precisely his novelty and his greatest strength, which make him an ideal candidate to occupy the seat in Washington. Being a military man decorated for his actions on active duty is a new and fundamental characteristic for the position, because in Congress, the military is distinguished. They don’t knock on the doors, they open them.”
Cruz Santiago said the governor’s campaign and his spokesman Edwin Mundo Ríos have for several days been showing their concern and desperation over the announcement of Román González.
“While Jenniffer had resident commissioner candidates to choose from, the governor is still on his own,” he said. “Our friend Edwin Mundo had announced that Larry Seilhamer would run and we were waiting; he also said that Elmer would have residency problems and his own advisers and campaign commentators denied it. Where is the organized campaign? We are already seeing how you can see that they are desperate and erratic in their campaign.”
Cruz Santiago added that “it would be the first time that the island would have a candidate for resident commissioner who has had a military career and who has also performed diplomatic functions.” The weight and importance of these qualities place him at an advantage in accessing the spheres of power,” the former senator said.