Even though it’s a symbolic step, given the fact that I represent almost 4 million U.S. citizens, many of whom have been willing to give up their lives in defense of our nation, I feel that any enhancement in my participation in the nation’s decision-making process is a positive step.

Having said that, however, I feel that the real issue underlying at least Puerto Rico’s situation is our lack of definition of our territorial status. In the 109th congress, I filed a self-determination bill, which was cosponsored by 110 members—roughly 65 Republicans and 45 Democrats—to provide, for the first time in the 109 years of being a territory, a process for the voters in Puerto Rico to express their preference concerning status. I’m convinced that this is not only desirable, but the only morally and politically correct approach to solving a long overdue situation regarding our territorial status.

Puerto Rico has offered its best sons and daughters in every war since 1917 when we became U.S. citizens, and they have fought with valor and courage always, including in the present war against terror, where I have lost 56 constituents. The U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico deserve nothing less than an opportunity to express their opinions regarding a solution to our present territorial status.