Sunday, February 25, 2018

New Jersey governor order creates Commission on Puerto Rico Relief

By on February 13, 2018

SAN JUAN – After traveling to Puerto Rico with members of his state’s legislature and members of its business and faith-based communities, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed Monday an executive order establishing an 18-member Commission on Puerto Rico Relief to benefit Puerto Ricans who left for the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.Murphy’s executive order “will mandate the commission to work with state agencies to ascertain services already provided to Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican evacuees in New Jersey,” according to a release issued by his office.

The order also requires that the commission work with “federal agencies to expedite processes that will benefit Puerto Ricans in New Jersey in need of services, as well as non-profit agencies that provide safety-net services to those who have been displaced.

According to the release, the order will task the commission to examine:

  • The moratorium on mortgage and reverse mortgage foreclosures in Puerto Rico that is set to expire on March 19, 2018;
  • Power generation on the island;
  • Resources available to students and professors who have evacuated or remain unable to complete coursework in Puerto Rico;
  • Volunteer tourism whereby New Jerseyans are encouraged to visit Puerto Rico and assist nonprofit recovery organizations, and potential tax credits and/or deductions that can be issued for services rendered;
  • Recruitment of volunteer lawyers to pursue denial appeals of FEMA benefits.

“It is unacceptable that five months after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, so many of our fellow Americans are still feeling the impacts of the storm,” Murphy said in the release. “This joint commission will help the approximately 30,000 Puerto Ricans who have taken refuge in New Jersey by directing our state agencies to fast-track help for those who have been displaced. We also must find additional ways to help the island and return Puerto Ricans to normalcy. The federal response has been insufficient and we must step up as a state to help our brothers and sisters on the island.”

“I would like to thank New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for creating the Puerto Rico Commission,” Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló adds. “Governor Murphy and the state of New Jersey have been great allies in the recovery process of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane María. We will work hand in hand with the Commission to make sure that it is successful in its mission.

The members of the Joint Commission are:

  • Rev. Joshua Rodríguez (Pastor, Cityline Church & National Latino Evangelical Coalition) –  Chair
  • Peggy Anastos (former Chief of Staff, Office of Attorney General & NJ Puerto Rican Congress) –  Vice Chair
  • Ana Montero (CEO, American Red Cross NJ)
  • Arlene Quiñones Pérez (Partner, DeCotiis & former President of Hispanic Bar Association)
  • Jay Jiménez (Chief of Staff, NJ Department of Transportation)
  • Carmen García (New Jersey State Parole Board & Trustee of Hispanic Bar Association)
  • Lydia Valencia (CEO, NJ Puerto Rican Congress)
  • Héctor Ruiz (Partner, Walsh Pizzi & President of Hispanic Bar Association)
  • Gualberto “Gil” Medina (Executive Vice President, CBRE)
  • Tonio Burgos (Tonio Burgos & Associates)
  • Arianna Mouré (Associate, Florio Perrucci & Trustee of Hispanic Bar Association)
  • Sam Delgado (VP of External Affairs, Verizon)
  • Alixon Collazos (LUPE Fund)
  • Idida Rodríguez (1868 Public Affairs)
  • Al Álvarez (Chief of Staff, NJ School Development Authority)
  • Ivette Álvarez (Partner, Einhorn, Harris & former President of Hispanic Bar Association)

The full text can be found here.

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