Rubio recommits to achieving statehood for Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio reaffirmed his commitment to achieving statehood for the citizens of Puerto Rico, saying he will seek to convert “opponents to proponents” in the U.S. Senate.
Rubio’s expressions are reflected in a letter sent this week to the chair of the Puerto Rico House Federal, International & Status Relations Committee, José Aponte, in response to a request from the Puerto Rico representative that asked the senator’s explanation of his position regarding the issue of statehood for the island.
“I believe we have never been so close as now to give the people of the island the opportunity to vote for admission to the Union,” the Florida senator said.
“An effective and continuous effort can change votes from ‘no’ to ‘yes,’ convert opponents to proponents and even drivers. On the matter of statehood, something that I have been committed to since I arrived in the Senate, I will continue to make the effort in the coming days and months,” Rubio added.
Aponte took advantage of the opportunity and thanked the senator for his expressions.
“I appreciate Sen. Rubio’s expressions, clarifying and dispelling any doubt about his commitment so the [U.S.] citizens who live in Puerto Rico achieve equality, statehood. We are on the threshold of gaining admission, as our people have claimed in the last two status referendums, and we know we can count on Sen. Rubio to continue the effort to educate members of Congress about the importance of that action,” Aponte commented.
In the letter, dated Jan. 24, Rubio indicates that many of his colleagues in the Senate still do not know what the issue of Puerto Rico’s admission as a state is about and that “our task is to change that.”
The senator, who is of Cuban descent, also cataloged the residents of the island as “American citizens without a state,” emphasizing the need to continue the educational campaign.