Puerto Rico's primary focus is our economy

Since January, the García-Padilla administration has been working tirelessly to improve the economy, create jobs, and fight crime in Puerto Rico.

Instead of joining us in addressing these very important issues that dictate the quality of life on our island, proponents of making Puerto Rico the 51st state have chosen to focus on misrepresenting the outcome of the 2012 status plebiscite.  Unfortunatley, some continue to falsely claim that a majority of Puerto Ricans voted in support of statehood.

The reality is that the 2012 vote represents the fourth time that the voters have rejected statehood.  Last year, statehood received only 44.4 percent of the votes cast. Nearly 500,000 ballots were left blank as an act of protest to the biased structure of the plebiscite. These numbers are a far cry from a majority support for statehood.

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The fact remains that Commonwealth status is the only option that allows the island to maintain its instrumental fiscal autonomy, which has allowed the all-star island to become the manufacturing powerhouse of the Caribbean, while retaining its unique cultural heritage and strong national identity. Puerto Ricans have consistently voted in favor of enhancing Commonwealth each time it has been on the ballot and we will continue to pursue a true process of self-determination that includes all valid options.

While some may continue to have different views concerning our relationship with the United States, we should be united in our desire to improve the quality of life on our island and for our people. Our primary focus should be on our economy. Stabilizing our finances, creating jobs and improving public security need to be our priorities in order to improve the quality of life for all Puerto Ricans. And that is exactly what our administration will continue to do in the months and years ahead.

Hernández is the director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and a former senator of Puerto Rico from 2005 to 2012.