The reactions in DC to Puerto Rico’s statehood vote

by | Jun 20, 2017 | Status | Comments

On June 11 Puerto Ricans came together and chose statehood for the future of the islands by a wide margin. They let their voices be heard and demanded that now Congress take action to begin the process of giving full statehood rights to the citizens of Puerto Rico. Prior to the vote a few representatives voiced their opinions either in favor, as did representative José Serrano (D) of New York when he said that “Status is a major problem on the island or in opposition like senator Roger Wicker (R) of Mississippi who said “The vote unfairly stacks odds in favor of statehood.” However, save for a few voices here and there, the response has been mainly silence and indifference. While representatives Young (R) of Alaska and Soto (D) of Florida have been outspoken in their support for statehood most representatives and political types have been silent or have made their dissention to the results known.

Whichever side of the spectrum they fall on it does look like the issue is being taken seriously and was addressed by Sean Spicer in a white house press conference.

This is on top of a previous comment from President Trump who said that he was open to the idea of Puerto Rico becoming a state. From here Governor Rosselló enacted a Tennessee Plan where he will he send seven delegates, two senators and five representatives, to petition for official statehood status in the United States Capitol in DC. The fear still lingers though that because of the low turnout in the vote that Congress and those that are in Washington, DC will see the vote as illegitimate. With nearly 80% of the people abstaining or protesting from the vote many see this not as a representation of the will of the people but of the voices of a few. Governor Rosselló has said he did not care how many votes were cast it was only the votes that were cast that mattered. The governor has been meeting with representatives to discuss the implications and next steps in the statehood process. As of Monday, June 19, 2017 it appears as though his discussions did not go unheard as DNC Chair Tom Perez has voiced his support in transition to statehood.

It seems that it will be a slow road to statehood and the road may be marked with silence, apathy, and a continual struggle to be heard. With the Tennessee plan being enacted, Congress will be forced to contend with a people who want to join the union and then they will have to respond. Though they have been in discussion with Puerto Rican leadership, Congress has been dragging its feet in regards to any of the measures brought forth, people are wondering if statehood will be any different.

photo credit: Geoff Livingston House of Cards via photopin (license)