The Democratic governor of Puerto Rico has decided he will wreak revenge on the Trump Administration and the GOP because he feels they neglected Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island last September 20.
Governor Rick Rosselló, 39, saw the tax reform bill passed by the GOP last December as a disaster for his island, as it eliminated tax breaks for manufacturers operating in Puerto Rico. Rosselló told Yahoo News, “At that juncture, it just dawned on me that, even though conceptually, at a high level we knew we had to start some sort of a movement, that unless we started a robust, results-oriented structure, we were always going to be on the short end of the stick.”
Yet less than a week after Hurricane Maria struck the island, here was the exchange Rossello had with John Yang of PBS:
Yang: Governor, are you getting all the aid you need or getting it fast enough from the states?
Rossello: First of all, we are very grateful for the administration. They have responded quickly. The president has been very attentive to the situation, personally calling me several times. FEMA and the FEMA director have been here in Puerto Rico twice. As a matter of fact, they were here with us today, making sure that all the resources in FEMA were working in conjunction with the central government.
Puerto Rico, which has $123 billion in bond and pension obligations, filed for bankruptcy on May 3. The island has suffered from a decade-long recession.
Last Tuesday, Rosselló, who was a delegate for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, announced the creation of Poder Puerto Rico, a nonpartisan 501(c)4 organization planning on convincing displaced Puerto Ricans living in swing states to vote for the Democratic Party. He complained, “I recognize that the situation of Puerto Rico is hard to explain. I mean, we’re talking about a colonial territory in the 21st century, the oldest, most populated colonial territory in the world, and it is under the biggest democracy in the world.”
Once they come to the mainland and establish residency, Puerto Ricans who register are immediately eligible to vote. According to officials in Florida, that could mean 385,000 islanders could vote, which could profoundly affect the race for senator, where GOP Governor Rick Scott is facing off against incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.
Rosselló concluded, “Florida is essentially ground zero. There are other states that we aim to pinpoint in this midterm elections and other districts as well, but really because of the [thin] margin, because of the large population, because of the attention that has been brought to the races over here, I think that it is a good initial step to showcase what we can do. So, yes, I think we can be influential in Florida and that goes to registering people and then getting them out to vote.”