Statehood tops González Colón’s agenda
By John McPhaul
With a clear majority favoring statehood in Puerto Rico in Tuesday’s status plebiscite, obtaining statehood will be at the top of the agenda for Jenniffer González Colón, the resident commissioner said Wednesday in an interview with the Star.
“The governor-elect Pierluisi and I have a clear mandate after achieving an absolute majority for statehood,” González said. “This is a clear message that equality and an end to discrimination can be granted only through statehood.”
The resident commissioner said the recognition that the status issue received nationwide would be vital to the passage of statehood.
She also stressed that the creation of a tourism industry task force would be another high priority for her new administration.
Other priorities for the resident commissioner are the creation of infrastructure as a motor of economic development and turning Puerto Rico into a hub for manufacturing companies returning to the United States from abroad with the prospect of creating regions of development in Puerto Rico.
“With more companies relocating to the United States we will be allowing the reconstruction of Puerto Rico as an island of opportunity,” González said.
The island has already become an air cargo hub and “we are going to try to get that in a permanent way,” she added.
The extension of economic security is the fourth pillar of the resident commissioner’s agenda, though another priority will be to have Puerto Rico treated as a state with an extension of health care resources based on equal standing with respect to Medicare and Medicaid.
“Puerto Rico needs to be treated as a state in health care and it’s not,” she said.
The resident commissioner said the creation of a tourism industry task force would also be a high priority for her new administration, with the extension of an earned income tax credit being another priority.
González also has a wide-ranging plan for citizen security.
The resident commissioner declined to speculate about the prospect of having to cooperate with a U.S. government led by Democrat Joe Biden as president, saying that all the votes have not been counted.
“The best economic development plan that Puerto Rico has is statehood and to open the way to it, we will work on a concerted strategy in various forums and areas,” González said. “These proposals complement very well with what would be our union with the United States. We are focused on bringing jobs here now, in the medium and long term, more investment here, more opportunities here, more creation here, more aid here.”
The resident commissioner said the fact that Pedro Pierluisi is a member of the Democratic Party would help the statehood cause.
“It is a bipartisan issue now; it is not about voting by party lines,” she said. “There are several bipartisan networks. We do have a bill that has bipartisan support. The recognition the issue has at the nationwide level is very important.”