Padilla coming to push PR statehood
Caribbeanbusinesspr.com learned the two-term mayor is leading a new organization that is dedicated to guiding Puerto Rico to statehood through the November plebiscite.
Padilla’s group, called Equality, is led by professionals and former government officials who don’t aspire to elective posts but are active in the ongoing campaign and are members of the New Progressive Party (NPP). Participants in the group include former Treasury Secretary Xenia Vélez, former Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Carlos Vivoni and professors José Garriga Picó, Héctor Maury Ríos and James Benson, among others.
Padilla, a retired physician who has been living on the U.S. mainland for several decades, said “each of the representatives of different professions and trades have a particular perspective to contribute to the discussion.”
The former NPP mayor, who will be in San Juan next week and who already has scheduled several appearances, said he believes the work being done by his Equality group, which was formed in April, will be enhanced once it is registered with a political action committee.
Padilla said he is hoping to extend Equality’s mission to educate voters throughout the island through seminars which will be aimed, in addition to other groups, at women and young voters.
He said his goal is “to convince those who claim to favor the current commonwealth status but not autonomy or independence and who have evolved pragmatically over the years to have a greater understanding of the scope of Puerto Rico’s integration to the United States.”
Puerto Ricans will vote on the status issue on election day in November.
The plebiscite ballot will consist of two questions. Voters will first be asked whether they want the current territory status to continue. Regardless of how voters answer that question, they will then be asked to express their preference among the three alternatives to the current status: statehood, independence and nationhood in free association with the United States.
Puerto Ricans previously have voted to remain a commonwealth in referendums issued in 1967 (60 percent) and 1993 (48 percent). In a 1998 plebiscite, the “none of the above” option won with 50 percent of the vote, followed by statehood at 46 percent. The “none of the above” option was added by the commonwealth supporting Popular Democratic Party to protest the definition of “commonwealth” on the ballot.