García Padilla Bids Farewell to Party’s Presidency
SAN JUAN – Gov. Alejandro García Padilla bid farewell to the presidency of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) in a written statement released Thursday. With just hours left before he leaves the party’s presidency to David Bernier, the governor reminded the PDP it should stay away from solutions to Puerto Rico’s woes that seek to gain votes but are not responsible ones.
Bernier, former secretary of state under García Padilla, will head the PDP as president, after being officially certified as the PDP’s candidate for governor in the general elections in November.
In the statement, García Padilla highlights his performance at La Fortaleza as part of the PDP’s service to Puerto Rico, in particular the handling of the ongoing fiscal crisis.
“Today, almost 80 years after its founding, the Popular [Democratic] Party, has to once again look in the eloquent [sic] mirror of the great democracies of the world. The message of the times cannot be ignored. Currently, democracies present claims to political parties: they demand effective and prompt solutions to address the people’s needs; less politics and more civic vocation; loyalty to social interest and not the interests of those who finance politics,” García Padilla’s letter reads.
García Padilla also reminded the PDP it should stay away from solutions to Puerto Rico’s woes that seek to gain votes but are not responsible ones.
“Our party is popular; it is not populist. Political parties should articulate responsible proposals and push them forward seriously, or become irrelevant and expendable chimeras. That is the challenge of serious [political] parties in serious democracies; that is the challenge that the Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico is facing,” he said in the statement.
García Padilla listed his achievements as governor and as head of the PDP.
“During my four years as governor, we have come a long way in the service of the party for Puerto Rico. First, we recovered the government, which we had lost by wide margin. Second, we have faced the most serious fiscal crisis in our history, the magnitude of which was kept hidden from the country,” he said.
He noted that now there are 1 million jobs; a total of 23,000 more than in November 2014. The unemployment rate fell by 1.3% compared with November 2013. Manufacturing, commerce, financial services, among other sectors, have reported increased job creation over the past year. Tourism, in particular, has rebounded with an increase in all areas,” he said.
He noted that the aerospace industry blossomed during his tenure in office with the arrival of Lufthansa Technik in Aguadilla. “This initiative is the most important industrial diversification effort of our country in recent times,” he said.
Puerto Rico also experienced a revival of its pharmaceutical industry through expansions by Allergan and Romark Laboratories, among others.
Under his tenure, García Padilla said he boosted the island’s farming sector, which grew from 24% to 60% and has created 700 new jobs.
He also cited the successful efforts in reducing the number of murders, noting that 2015 ended with 421 fewer than in 2012, but lamented that he was not successful in garnering support for his proposed tax reform.
The governor expressed support for Bernier and urged PDP members to support him.
“The country recognizes him for his successful performance as a professional, as a sportsman and as a public servant both inside and outside government. He is the most qualified person to take over the leadership of the PDP in 2016, and the country over the next four years. He has the strong support of all populares and has growing support in the country,” he said, while warning that the upcoming weeks will require all PDP supporters to be more loyal to the party than ever.
“The new path, as I said two weeks ago, will require everyone to be more loyal to the future than the present, more committed to the [party] than to the individual. If we really love our country, this is the time to prove it,” García Padilla stated.