Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton has declared his candidacy for president in 2020. This makes a field of 19 serious candidates on the Democratic side, and two Republicans. Moulton supports statehood for Puerto Rico.
Moulton was a member of the Massachusetts delegation that visited Puerto Rico in 1980 to get a clear understanding of the effects of the disaster. He has recently said he supports “a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico.” He supported the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018 as a co-sponsor.
This history of support for Puerto Rico coincides with other principles Moulton is running on. He has proposed a new Voting Rights Act for the United States. These elements would be part of that act:
- Automatic voter registration
- Election Day being designated a national holiday
- Restoring voting rights to felons who have paid their debt to society
- An end to gerrymandering
- An end to voter suppression
- Paid time off for all Americans to vote
- Nationwide rank choice voting
- Statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia
His website includes this statement:
“Everyone should have the right to vote, and every vote should count. That’s the most fundamental requirement of a democracy, and it’s an area where our country has always fallen short. It’s time for that to change. That means a new voting rights act to enact automatic voter registration, put a stop to gerrymandering, and confront voter suppression across America. It means giving all Americans representation by granting statehood to Puerto Rico and DC. And it means getting rid of the electoral college and the filibuster, so no matter where you live or who you vote for, your vote matters.”
The president signs the admission act for a new state after Congress votes. He or she cannot directly declare a territory a state. In the past, there have been presidents who refused to sign a bill creating a new state; these actions have not permanently prevented statehood for those territories.
We commend Rep. Moulton for taking a clear position on the subject. We would like to have an equally clear statement from every candidate. Ask your favorites and let us know!