Congressman Darren Soto announced on Tuesday, that he will “strongly support” the results of a plebiscite to determine the support for Puerto Rican Statehood scheduled to take place this Sunday.
“The decision on Puerto Rico’s ultimate political status has to come from the people, and it’s not my place to try to tell them how to vote. Yet as a Member of the U.S. Congress from Florida, representing a district with a large Puerto Rican population, and being of Puerto Rican heritage myself, I take great interest in the issue. I encourage my fellow citizens from Puerto Rico to participate in the plebiscite and I will strongly support its outcome.”
Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello and their non-voting member of Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez have made trips to Washington to lobby and voice their support for statehood. The issue of the status of the island has been a controversial debate among it’s citizens for decades, with different groups each pushing for statehood, independence, or it’s current standing as a commonwealth.
The island recently filed for an action similar to bankruptcy for it’s $70 billion dollars in debt that will have to be restructured. Any push for statehood in Congress faces an uphill climb with the current administration.
Because of high unemployment, many Puerto Rican have migrated from the island to here in Central Florida to start over in the area’s strong entry level job market.
Soto has previously said he will reserve any positions on the island’s status until a vote is taken.
“Ultimately, I believe that it is in the best interest of my constituents, our fellow citizens in the territory, and America as a whole, that Congress work to ensure a strong and vibrant Puerto Rico. Congress must resolve Puerto Rico’s political status to unleash its full economic potential and return prosperity to the island” concludes Soto.