Many mainland news sources already announced that Wanda Velazquez, Attorney General or Secretary of Justice, will take on the mantle of Puerto Rico Governor when Ricardo Rossello steps down on August 2nd.
However, there are other possibilities.
Velazquez has clearly stated that she does not want the position. Protesters have also protested against her.
If Velazquez refuses, the next person in line is Eligio Hernández Pérez, Secretary of Education. Some have pointed out that this is a busy time of year for the Department of Education. Hernández Pérez was also involved in the infamous Telegram chat, though he did not participate in the conversations that were leaked.
A new Secretary of State
Rossello could name a new Secretary of State before he steps down. This individual would then be next in line, ahead of Velazquez. That possibility opens up the choices for governor.
Luis Fortuno has been suggested for the position. Fortuno wrote an opinion piece for El Nuevo Dia saying that “Whoever replaces the governor must establish a detailed plan to assure the federal government of the proper management of every penny we receive. Once said plan is formalized, you must go to Washington, feel comfortable in presenting it and address the serious doubts that have arisen around our ability to handle such federal programs.” The new governor must also, Fortuno continued, rebuild trust with corporations and nonprofits, using the ability to “project aplomb and managerial aptitude.” The new governor will also have to build trust among the people of Puerto Rico, of course.
The Police Department has asked Thomas Rivera Schatz to serve as governor, and has requestd that Rossello name him Secretary of State to make it possible. A survey published in the Puerto Rico Herald found an even split of 46% favorable to 46% unfavorable opinions on Rivera Schatz among the people who responded to the survey.
Jennifer González-Colon was suggested as a successor for Rossello by the New York Times, but has said that she is fully occupied representing Puerto Rico in Congress. She also told the Time that she has not been asked to step in as Secretary of State. Her standing in the survey was 61% positive and 33% negative.
Pedro Pierluisi has been proposed as a new governor in social media and by Reuters. He was Rossello’s rival in the 2016 gubernatorial race.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has announced her intention to run for governor next time around, has asked Congress to listen to the mayors rather than waiting for the central government to settle in. “It is those elected public officials who are closest to the town and in tune with their needs,” she said. She also called for the repeal of PROMESA, the law establishing the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board.
Yulin Cruz has not been suggested as a prospect for the next governorship. The June survey reported in the Puerto Rico Herald showed that 31% held a favorable opinion of her, compared with 59% unfavorable. Asked whether she would be a good governor, 67% said no.
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