Ricardo Rosselló, Elizabeth Torres Rodríguez, Roberto Lefranc Fortuño, and Maria Meléndez Altieri have been elected as House representatives for Puerto Rico. Melinda Romero Donnelly and Zoraida Buxó Santiago have been chosen as Senate representatives. They have been described as “lobbyists,” but are also seen as a shadow delegation, taking the place of the senators and members of the House Puerto Rico will have as a state.
In 2018, following the 2017 referendum, a shadow delegation was appointed by the governor and sent to Washington. This delegation included half Republicans and half Democrats, plus one Independent. Composed of leaders fromPuerto Rico, it was designed to reassure those who worried that Puerto Rico would be a blue state.
The delegation was part of an effort to use the Tennessee Plan to push Congress to respect the votes for statehood in 2012 and 2017, and to achieve statehood.
Tennessee was eager to become a state in 1796, so they elected senators and Congressional representatives and sent them to Washington to demand seats in Congress. Congress refused. However, Tennessee’s eagerness sped up the process and they were admitted just months later.
Since then, several more states have used the Tennessee Plan to speed up their admission — most recently, Alaska.
Puerto Rico’s 2018 delegation did not achieve statehood for Puerto Rico, but the new delegation is hoping to succeed.
The 2021 delegation was elected, not appointed. Turnout in their election was very small — fewer than 5% of the voters — but there is no minimum turnout requirement for elections in the United States, and many elected officials have been put into office by fewer than 10% of the registered voters.The turnout does not affect the election.
Congress insisted that Tennessee hold new elections after becoming a state, simply because a territory cannot elect representatives to Congress; only a state can do that. This is why Puerto Rico, a territory, has no senators or regular Members of Congress.
Puerto Rico’s shadow delegation may not become the delegation for the state of Puerto Rico, but they currently have a brief to support the cause of statehood and persuade Congress to respect the 2020 vote.
“I will work together with my fellow delegates, each of whom brings a unique perspective and a set of experiences that I believe will make us a highly effective team for the people of Puerto Rico. I hope, together with them, to develop and implement a cohesive and comprehensive agenda with the commitment and objective of achieving statehood for Puerto Rico,” Rosello was quoted as saying by the Weekly Journal.
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
― Thomas Jefferson
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in…”
— Abraham Lincoln.
The shadow’s delegation must place their past personal and political contradictions aside and work together to achieve their purpose. Their performance should be graded on their collective accomplishments.
The Puerto Rico Statehood cause and ideal should not be used as a means to negotiate back door deals to only obtain federal funds parity. It must be a genuine attempt to achieve full statehood equality for the
American citizens of Puerto Rico.
The shadow delegation should be clear on the following:
1- Puerto Rico must be incorporated as soon as possible. – The unincorporated status is the root of PR’s inequality.
2- Any member of the delegation who is against incorporating PR and wants to find a way around it , should
3- The Delegation should keep track of every visit in congress and it’s end result. They must write quarterly reports to the electorate.
4- The cost of the delegation must be measured from day one on it’s performance and accomplishments.
5- The delegation should not use this electorate mandate as a way to promote themselves personally at the
expense of the Pro-Statehood cause.
6- The Delegation should welcome and be open to quarterly town hall meetings in PRFAA for citizens advocate input. They should also welcome the comments and suggestions of all lifelong pro-statehood advocates, that were not elected.
7- The delegation’s message in congress must be cohesive, United and straight forward-
Puerto Rico Statehood is the only clear goal!
This entire process and movement is a complete sham. They have had no relevant meetings or movement since arriving in Washington DC which is why the governor told them to come back to the island. Well, except for Ricky Renuncia who’s so in fear of his life he had taxpayers build him an armored SUV.