Democratic congresswoman visits Puerto Rico for ‘firsthand’ view of crisis
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico House of Representatives’ speaker, Carlos Méndez, and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González met Thursday with Ohio Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty, who came to the island to discuss core issues for Puerto Rico.
During their meeting, González, Beatty, Méndez and Sen. Henry Neumann, representing the Senate president, addressed the media to explain the African-American congresswoman’s visit.
“This visit means we can do many things together for Puerto Rico—discrimination on economic matters and legislation of that nature. For example, Congresswoman Beatty and I have concurred on many measures pushed in favor of the island, and her interest in coming to know Puerto Rico is to see firsthand and end discrimination against Puerto Rico on several important issues,” the resident commissioner said, adding that the congresswoman will visit schools and the financial sector as part of her itinerary.
“We have created a caucus of friends of Puerto Rico for economic development, which is a bipartisan committee of members of Congress to which Congresswoman Beatty joined with her experience in financial matters,” González added.
For her part, Beatty reaffirmed that there are many points of convergence between the needs of the state she represents and Puerto Rico. The congresswoman said that joint efforts could advance bills and amendments to legislation that helps Puerto Rico in core issues for its development such as healthcare and the economy.
Beatty said this is just the first “delegation trip” by members of Congress to learn about the island’s problems firsthand.
Explaining that it makes a big difference when one can see situations firsthand, she added that the challenges and strengths of the island, and one of the things González and her have talked spoken about is how they can make a difference in Washington to help Puerto Rico get ahead.
As an African American woman, Beatty said she fought against discrimination to get to one of the highest positions, and earned that “if we work together we are stronger.” She said she supports fair treatment for Puerto Rico because it has more than 3.5 million American citizens that should have a voice in the U.S. House, adding that applies to all the territories.
Beatty, however, did not detail some of the strategies she is developing with the resident commissioner to help the island out of its fiscal quagmire. However, she insisted that through teamwork, greater progress can be achieved for the island.
The congresswoman reiterated the importance that other members of both legislative chambers visit Puerto Rico to learn directly about the core issues that affect the island.
The most important of these alliances, she said, is giving a voice to one’s representative in Congress. Reminding that, contrary to the resident commissioner, she does vote in Congress, she said it is important she apply her leadership in favor of the issues she has discussed with González, adding that the island’s finances is one of them.
Cautioning that she cannot guarantee that Congress would immediately promulgate legislation that would solve all of Puerto Rico’s problems, she did assure that the island is included in programs and financial aid.