Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Puerto Rico gov discusses transparency with Trump administration

By on August 16, 2019

The White House is seen from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. (CB photo)

Speaks with officials from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez spoke for the first time Thursday with members of the Trump administration. The conference call included Doug Hoelscher, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA), to whom she requested a meeting with the president as soon as possible.

In a statement issued by Vázquez’s office, La Fortaleza, the governor, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) Executive Director Jennifer Storipan and Public Policy Secretary Philippe Mesa said they spoke with Hoelscher about “reestablishing credibility and transparency.”

Meanwhile, in her first interview with WIPR Channel 6, Vázquez said that on Thursday she spoke with private sector leaders, who told her that they would travel with her to Washington, D.C., when the “trip is coordinated.”

“All the mayors want to go and it makes me very happy because that means that we will have one voice,” Vázquez told Channel 6. “The private the sector, the mayors and others will all travel together to Washington and we hope that it will be during the first week of September when the congressional session begins.”

She said that during the call with Hoelscher the meeting with Trump was requested to clarify to the president that “Puerto Rico is not the image that has been presented to him.”

“In the process of reestablishing credibility, it’s of utmost importance to open channels of communication and reaffirm this administration’s commitment to Puerto Rico, to achieve this goal,” Vázquez assured. “I am grateful to Mr. Hoelscher and his team for the interest they have shown in our island.”

IGA’s Nic Pottebaum and Dan Horning also participated in the call with the governor, which was requested by the IGA through the PRFAA, according to the La Fortaleza release, which added that “satisfaction with the availability and openness shown by the first executive and expressed interest in meeting” in Washington.

“I am fully ready and willing to collaborate with President Donald Trump and his administration in matters that affect the island and its 3.2 million U.S. citizens,” Vázquez added. “I have had the opportunity to meet with our resident commissioner, Jenniffer González, on several occasions and we have an excellent working relationship, in which we both have as our north to achieve the best for Puerto Rico.”

Vázquez said she requested to meet with Trump as soon as possible to speak about issues of importance for Puerto Rico, such as disaster recovery and Medicaid funds assigned to the island.

“While it is true that the federal government has been an integral part in the recovery of Puerto Rico, there is still a long way to go. I trust that with this openness that the White House has shown, we can continue working together in the reconstruction of the Island,” Vázquez added.

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