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Author: Aras Troy

RepresentUS ignores US territories in campaign

RepresentUs was launched as a non-profit organization in 2012 by founder Josh Silver, with a non-partisan aim of combatting legalized corruption in US politics. Its model is inspired by the 2011 American Anti-Corruption Act, which aimed to introduce new rules about lobbying and campaign finance to increase transparency in politics. Several dozen chapters across the continental United States, but none located in any of the US territories: Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands. Despite a growing involvement in promoting anti-corruption political reform across the country at the federal level and in...

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Carmen Yulin Cruz announces run for Puerto Rico governor

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (PDP) officially announced that she will run for Governor of Puerto Rico, challenging incumbent governor Ricardo Rosselló (NPP, D). The announcement took place on the Puerto Rican holiday of Emancipation Day, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the territory in 1873. The timing of the announcement was intentional, signaling that the mayor would pursue a campaign centered around the unequal political status of Puerto Rico. “We have to break away from the chains that tie us down in order to have a promising future and break our cycle of poverty,” said Yulín Cruz....

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Could approval voting help solve the Puerto Rico status issue?

Five times in the history of Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory of the United States, there have been popular referenda, or plebiscites, presented to Puerto Rican voters to decide the future of its political status. Most recently, an overwhelming majority of voters chose statehood—but with a boycott by the Popular Democratic Party and record low turnout, there is reduced confidence that these plebiscites can accurately represent the desires of the voters. Most of the past referenda used the same voting method, known as “first-past-the-post,” or a winner-take-all system, in which the option with the most votes win, even...

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America’s most conservative Democratic governor is in Puerto Rico

The 2018 midterms grew the ranks of the Democratic Governors Association with 9 new members: 7 from states and 2 from the territories, each representing a flip to Democratic control. Nearly half, or 11 out of 25, were sworn in for the first time in 2019. The new DGA outlook is a much more progressive and national bench than before, but its most conservative member remains Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico, who was first elected in 2016. Rosselló is a member of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico, a pro-statehood party, and identifies nationally with the Democratic...

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Trump and his unwitting attacks against the Oversight Board, in context

On October 23, the federally-appointed Puerto Rico financial oversight board unanimously approved a new plan to address the the bankrupt territory’s debt crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The revision, called an “austerity plan” by Governor Ricardo Rosselló, calls for a reduction of $427 million in government spending this fiscal year, with cuts climbing to $926 million by 2020. Included in the plan is an estimates $80 billion in federal disaster relief funding over the next $15 years, of which the federal government has already earmarked $60-65 billion. Both figures are considerably less than the $139 billion the...

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