Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited Puerto Rico last week, saying that — like competitor Marco Rubio, who was also in Puerto Rico at the time — she favors statehood if the people of Puerto Rico vote again to become a state in the upcoming federally-funded plebiscite.
Clinton also spoke on the subject of the current fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico. “I do not believe you can fix your economy through austerity alone,” she said.
Clinton was speaking at a meeting on Puerto Rico’s health care crisis. At that meeting she also spoke against the unequal treatment of Puerto Rico in federal funding for health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and said that she would do all that she could to ensure equal treatment for Puerto Rico.
Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton have both expressed themselves in favor of statehood, but Clinton was being hosted by Governor Alejandro Padilla, who is against statehood. Clinton did not meet with the governor during her visit to Puerto Rico, but as a courtesy she also did not speak out on the political status of Puerto Rico on this occasion.
The New York Times also quoted Clinton as saying, “It always struck me as so indefensible that you can’t vote for president if you live here, but if you move to Florida — which, of course, I’m just naming a state — you can vote for president.”
Florida voters are likely to be extremely influential in the upcoming presidential election, and Puerto Rican voters are an influential segment within the group. A recent survey found that the Puerto Rican voters of central Florida favor candidates who embrace statehood.
This fact, along with growing awareness of the fact that Americans are thinking about Puerto Rico, is causing presidential candidates to pay more attention to the concerns of the Island. Tell your legislators that you care about Puerto Rico, and keep the candidates on their toes.