Resident commissioner willing to become Puerto Rico secretary of State
Says cabinet officials need to be replaced to regain Washington trust
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in the U.S. Congress, Jenniffer González, rejected reports Thursday that she called newly sworn Gov. Wanda Vázquez to offer herself as secretary of State.
In a radio interview, Vázquez said it was González who expressed herself available for the position.
“It was the legislative presidents who made the request to me and I notified her and told her that the first thing I should do was meet with the legislative leadership and that among yourselves you can put an end to this controversy,” González replied to questions from the press.
However, the resident commissioner insisted that the decision to appoint a secretary of state falls solely and exclusively upon the governor.
“I am an elected official,” González said. “The presidents [House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez and the Senate’s Thomas Rivera Schatz] called me to ask about my availability. At no time did they tell me we will name you nor something else. And I told them that if it was the will of the legislative body and the governor, of course.”
The resident commissioner said that to regain credibility in the federal government, nearly all current cabinet officials must be removed.
“The political and constitutional crisis merits the sacrifice of all officials,” she said, adding that the “government of Puerto Rico has zero credibility in the federal capital. Its lobbyists have zero credibility in the federal capital. Fighting against that will mean making real changes,” she stressed.
González was meeting with the legislative presidents and several mayors of the New Progressive Party. She is expected to meet with the governor Thursday afternoon.
She said that she has been able to obtain more than 43 billion in federal funds but unfortunately that money has not reached Puerto Rico yet because there are doubts in Washington about how the funds will be managed. To date, Puerto Rico has received nearly $12 billion in federal funds to recover from the historic 2017 hurricane season.
“The ghost of corruption has put in doubt the access to those funds,” GOnzález said, adding that fundamental changes need to be made in all government structures.
—CyberNews contributed to this report.