Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló urged Puerto Rican voters in Florida to turn outrage over Washington’s treatment of Puerto Rico into political action during the 2018 midterm elections. According to NBC News, in a speech Gov. Rosselló advised Puerto Rican Americans to organize and vote against those in office who turned their backs on the island after Hurricane Maria.
“Those of us who live there [Puerto Rico] don’t have the political power, but guess what?” Rosselló said. “Those of you who live here do.”
Three months after Hurricane Maria burst through Puerto Rico, the island is still suffering tremendously. While a home’s doors and windows can resist hurricane winds up to 100 mph if they have an impact-resistant glazing system of +105/-130, many Puerto Rican homes weren’t prepared for the Category 4 hurricane.
Half the island is still without power. Many Puerto Ricans are also living without clean running water.
During a 30-minute speech, Gov. Rosselló advised Puerto Ricans in Central Florida to advocate and vote together for the political results they need. Because Puerto Ricans are American citizens, they’re able to vote once establishing residency in the mainland.
This means the 313,000 Puerto Ricans who have come to Florida since Hurricane Maria can stimulate the political power they need. And Rosselló urges voters to remove those in Congress who turned their backs on the island during the introduction of the new tax law.
“[When] the opportunity showed up that Congress could make good on their word,” Rosselló said about politicians who made promises to Puerto Rico, “many of them turned their back on Puerto Rico and not only forgot about us but made things increasingly worse.”
The new tax law recently signed in Washington treats Puerto Rican companies as offshore firms despite the island’s status as a U.S. commonwealth. As a result, Puerto Rican companies will be subjected to higher taxes than they would be if they were operating on the mainland.
When the law passed, Rosselló announced Florida Republicans would pay for the transgression. “I am very disappointed with the fact that [Republican] Senator (Marco) Rubio is going to be voting for this tax bill,” Rosselló said to the Miami Herald in December 2017, “particularly when we had the opportunity to address the potentially devastating effects of Puerto Rico.”
According to NBC News, Rosselló previously aligned himself with other Republicans including President Donald Trump. However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Rosselló has seemingly changed directions.
Now, Rosselló says he’s committed to organizing communities in Florida to help Americans understand the issues at play. Additionally, he plans to draw the lines between those who have been friends to Puerto Rico and those who have turned their backs on the island to influence the future of midterm elections in Puerto Rico’s favor.