Resident Commissioner takes congressmen to Utuado to learn first-hand about the devastation
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez delivered supplies to rural areas in Utuado at the same time as she brought in a delegation of congressmen so they could see firsthand the devastation and the new reality of thousands of Puerto Ricans after the scourge of Hurricanes Irma and María in less than two weeks from each other.
“My colleagues in Congress have reiterated to me that they will not leave us alone. Their words along with the actions taken in Congress, such as the approval of billions of dollars in aid measures to face this emergency, show the commitment of the U.S. Congress to Puerto Rico. This is why it is so important for members to know first-hand what is happening,” said González-Colón, who added that the congressmen expressed their interest in restoring electricity and water as well as the economy of the island.
“We went over the extent of damages with neighbors of the community, that allowed me to put in context to the leaders of the House the level of resources that we need, as well as the need to make changes in federal laws for Puerto Rico. This visit helps promote Puerto Rico’s interests Puerto Rico in Congress,” added the Resident Commissioner.
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy mentioned that he has spoken with President Trump and Vice President Pence, who expressed their great appreciation for the governor and Resident Commissioner and praised González-Colón’s work in Congress, at the same time that they indicated that they will continue working in Puerto Rico as needed to rebuild the island.
The bipartisan delegation of members of the U.S. House of Representatives was comprised of Jenniffer Gonzalez – Resident Commissioner (NPP, R), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) of California, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland; Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R) of Utah; Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure Jeff Denham (R) of California; member of the Armed Services Committee Anthony Brown (D) of Maryland, and member of the Committee of Natural Resources Norma Torres (D) of California.
In the site visit were also Governor Ricardo Rosselló, Mayor Ernesto Irizarry, local District Representative Abid Quiñones, Federal Coordinator Michael Byrne and the commanding officer of the military mobilization in the Island, Lieutenant General Jeffrey Buchanan.
The congressmen witnessed the hardships that the residents of the Don Alonso and Camino 315 neighborhoods in Utuado go through daily. There the neighbors had to devise a method of transportation of supplies upon the collapse of a bridge due to the flooding of the river that left them unreachable by road.
The congressmen spoke with the residents who told them about how the hurricane felt in the mountains and how they have had to deal with their new reality. The United States Army has been bringing food as well as other basic supplies to the area.
“This visit by my fellow Members of Congress gives me more tools to continue obtaining funding and assistance. These families showed their strength and faith! We went to this isolated community in Utuado to bring supplies, we listened to their needs and we coordinated with LTG Buchanan for additional help”, added González Colón.