By Jannette Rivera Melecio
Special to The Star
In an announced appearance, former governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares participated Sunday, along with Sen. William Villafañe Ramos in a public conversation in Guaynabo called “Let’s Go for Equality,” where “core issues for Puerto Rico in Washington” were discussed.
Villafañe, a candidate for resident commissioner for the New Progressive Party (NPP), opened his initial statements to the press by expressing his pleasure at having Rosselló Nevares’ participation.
“Always a governor, a friend and today an elected official as a congressional delegate who is doing excellent work for free for the well-being of the Puerto Rican people,” Villafañe said.
The senator stated that the conversation was aimed at discussing a topic that is “fundamental for Puerto Rico, achieving decolonization once and for all through a process that leads toward fair, dignified and equal treatment for all Puerto Ricans, which undoubtedly is statehood.”
The former governor said he was “happy to be in Puerto Rico, and happy that my friend and brother William Villafañe has decided to take up the aspiration of being the next resident commissioner of Puerto Rico.”
Rosselló Nevares said he was there to convey the efforts they are making as a congressional delegation, but also to support Villafañe’s candidacy, ensuring that “apart from the friendship” that unites them, he is a “person who creates bridges and does not seek destruction.”
Rosselló Nevares added that “when you go to Washington as a [resident] commissioner, the best tool you have is to create relationships, and William Villafañe has that ability.”
He went on to highlight Villafañe’s roles within the party as president of the New Progressive Youth, NPP secretary, government secretary, director of the political campaign platform and now as senator.
The former governor said the functions Villafañe has performed have prepared him for the new challenge.
“He has prepared his entire life and his entire career with the aspiration and love he has for Puerto Rico and the quest for equality, and this moment has taken him to that crossroads where decisions are being made in Washington,” Rosselló Nevares said.
He added that Many Puerto Rican citizens inside and outside the island “are going to fight and produce results” in the U.S. capital.
“What we need is that great helping hand, and I predict that from 2025 onwards we will have the last resident commissioner of Puerto Rico,” Rosselló Nevares said.
To questions from the press, the former governor reaffirmed his support for the candidacy of Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia for the governorship and the ticket with Villafañe, and denied that his endorsements had been carried out under any negotiation beyond the fight for statehood.
“That is the only negotiation and it is the best hope for Puerto Ricans,” he said.
In his statements, Rosselló stressed that although Villafañe knows the Washington framework and has “been fighting” on issues of SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare and other issues, it must be recognized that the “biggest impediment that limits us from being able to achieve all of those aspirations is that Puerto Rico continues to be a colony and is not an equal state of the nation.”
Meléndez Ortiz gains Mundo’s endorsement in his resident commissioner bid
Meanwhile on Sunday, Pierluisi’s campaign director, Edwin Mundo, endorsed the candidacy of NPP Rep. José Enrique “Quiquito” Meléndez Ortiz for resident commissioner.
In his remarks, Meléndez Ortiz thanked his friend Mundo for his trust and support “in our fight to defend our people and statehood from the federal capital.”
“Edwin has earned the respect and admiration, not only of our party, but also of all Puerto Ricans, including the political opposition, for his ability to successfully handle political and electoral matters, and for that I thank him for his trust and receive his endorsement with great humility and commitment,” Meléndez Ortiz said.