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Raul Grijalva visits Puerto Rico

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Congress, Federal Government, Puerto Rico | 0 comments

Representative Raul Grijalva (D) of Arizona visited Puerto Rico at the end of June to discuss the prospects of statehood and ongoing energy issues. Other topics discussed included the impacts of the debt crisis and PROMESA, housing, education, federal benefits, and plans for a National Scenic Trail in Puerto Rico. Grijalva met with Governor Pedro Pierluisi (NPP, D), Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R), and Jesús Manuel Ortiz González, who is the president of the Popular Democratic Party. The Puerto Rican Independentist and Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana parties and the Puerto Rico Statehood Council also held meetings with Grijalva.

Grijalva, who chaired the House Committee on Natural Resources, shepherded the Puerto Rico Status Act through the House of Representatives last year, though the bill never passed in the Senate. Now serving as ranking member of the committee, he spent time discussing the future of Puerto Rico’s status with the Resident Commissioner,—who also serves on the Natural Resources Committee. Grijalva also discussed the bill with the governor, saying he hopes that the Natural Resources Committee, House, and Senate will pass the bill “to get to the point where the Puerto Rican people can make decisions about the future and their relationship with the United States.” 

Ortiz urged Grijalva to include commonwealth status in any proposed plebiscite during their meeting. Ortiz expressed concern over the Financial Oversight and Management Board’s failure to comply with a PROMESA statute that calls for a coordinator to approve critical projects. Ortiz also highlighted the territory’s health crisis as Puerto Ricans face limited resources and little medical assistance.

Grijalva also spent time with Pierluisi highlighting Puerto Rico’s improvements in energy infrastructure, as he helped establish a $1 billion Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund. The fund allocates $1 billion to build solar panels and other renewable energy technologies for disabled and low-income Puerto Ricans. Grijalva agreed with activists that the selection process should rely on clear criteria and transparency as Puerto Rico faced an energy crisis after hurricanes and management problems under LUMA Energy. Pierluisi thanked Grijalva for continued support, noting that Congress is “interested in everything we have to do to have a cleaner, more reliable, more affordable, less expensive, less polluting and more resilient electrical system in Puerto Rico. This already has momentum that no one can stop.” With 54 projects under construction to improve the electrical system and 131 more projects approved by FEMA, Grijalva saw the results of his advocacy and the continued issues that affect the territory.



Aamir Jamil

Aamir Jamil

Aamir Jamil is a student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. After living in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, he became fascinated with international affairs, politics, and history. He enjoys reading, researching politics and political trends, discovering American and world history, and poring over the news in his free time. Other hobbies include playing the clarinet and writing for the university newspaper. He is a Federal Affairs Intern Editor at Pasquines.


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