Puerto Rico Statehood Council names new executive director

by Apr 22, 2020Puerto Rico, Status0 comments

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, the Chairman of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council (PRSC), Jose Fuentes, announced that George Laws Garcia has been selected as the organization’s first Executive Director. The new position will increase the organization’s capacity to launch new initiatives and increase its engagement of Puerto Rico statehood supporters, stakeholders, and donors.

Laws Garcia is a long-time advocate of Puerto Rico statehood with a well-established track record of advancing the cause. With 15 years of experience in public policy and intergovernmental affairs, he has worked for and advised Governors, Members of Congress, federal agencies, and national nonprofit organizations on a broad range of issues including ending territory status and making Puerto Rico the 51st state of the Union.

Most recently Laws Garcia served as the Interim Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), the Washington, DC office of the Governor of Puerto Rico. In that role, he oversaw the agency and led its federal policy and advocacy efforts before the Executive and Legislative branches of the US government. He was the main person responsible for the launch and operations of the Puerto Rico Equality Commission, the territory’s shadow delegation to the US Congress.

“Since its inception, the goal of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council has been to inform and empower citizens on the island[s] and stateside to advocate for the end of the unequal and undemocratic current territory status, and to promote statehood as the best alternative for Puerto Rico’s future. The creation of the Executive Director position, and selection of George Laws Garcia to serve in that role, is a significant milestone as the Council works to increase our capabilities and outreach efforts. This is of particular importance at a time when Congress has shown in the recent emergency supplemental laws that were passed in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis how, yet again, Puerto Rico’s current territory status leads to unequal treatment for US citizens on the island[s] compared to those in the states,” said Fuentes.

“George’s commitment to the statehood cause is unquestionable, and the talent, skills, and institutional experience he brings to the Council will greatly benefit our continued efforts to support and grow the Puerto Rico statehood movement. We are excited about the new initiatives and outreach strategies that George is developing, and look forward to amplifying the voice of voters in Puerto Rico who have now twice rejected the current territory status and selected statehood as their preferred alternative,” Fuentes added.

“Puerto Rico and America are at a crossroads, and the US federal government has so far failed to take definitive action to end the unequal and undemocratic territory status which is a root cause of a large part of the island[s’] problems. The most recent Coronavirus supplemental bills highlight again how, without statehood, Puerto Rico will continue to get shortchanged. The lives of American citizens in Puerto Rico are of equal importance to the lives of their fellow citizens in the states, but only when Puerto Rico becomes a state will they be treated equally. My goal is to build on the excellent work of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council by engaging and empowering citizen advocates nationwide to develop a shared vision of how great Puerto Rico can be if we end the outdated and dysfunctional territory status that holds us back,” stated Laws Garcia.

“Transitioning Puerto Rico into statehood will unleash its full economic, social and cultural potential, benefiting not only island residents, but strengthening America as a whole. Given Puerto Rico’s role as a leading global producer of pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and biotechnology, giving the island[s] statehood would boost its capacity to attract investment in the manufacturing sector and increase the island[s’] production capacity for the benefit and health security of all Americans. This is especially true in a time of global crisis, like now, where international supply chains are being disrupted, and increasing domestic production capacity is more important than ever,” emphasized Laws Garcia.

“Continuing to hold a colonial territory against the freely expressed will of our fellow US citizens in Puerto Rico goes against our most fundamental values as Americans, and hurts our national response capacity in the face of a crisis like the one created by COVID-19. Each of us must choose whether we will continue to overlook this situation, or whether we take action to enable American citizens in Puerto Rico to reach their full potential through voting rights and citizen equality at the national level. I am proud to serve the Puerto Rico Statehood Council, and most importantly to continue to unite the Puerto Rico statehood movement, during these challenging times,” added Laws Garcia.

The Puerto Rico Statehood Council is a Washington, DC-based 501(c)4 non-profit organization dedicated to advance the goal of achieving equality for the US citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood.