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Puerto Rico takes giant leap towards statehood

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The American citizens residing in the United States Territory of Puerto Rico took another, major, step towards gaining admission into the Union as the fifty first State with the overwhelming election of nearly all of the New Progressive Party (NPP) candidates to the local legislature, as well as the victory of our candidates for governor, Ricardo Rosselló, and Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer González.

The NPP is an ideology-based political party which advocates for Puerto Rico’s statehood. The resounding win of nearly all of the Party’s candidates at the State-level positions send a powerful message to the new Republican leadership in Washington D.C., the time to end more than a century of colonial rule on the Island has come.

{mosads}The newly reelected Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have a mandate to promote the admission of Puerto Rico as the new state of the Union.

The Republican Platform, adopted at this summer’s National Convention clearly states that the GOP will respect the will of the people of Puerto Rico, free and democratically expressed in the 2012 status referendum in which 54 percent of the voters rejected the current colonial relationship with the U.S. In that same election, 61 percent of people that participated chose statehood as a final solution to an almost never ending story of our political relation with the nation.

At that time, the will of the people of Puerto Rico was not enacted due to bureaucracy in Congress and efforts made by the soon-to-be ex-governor of the island, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who refused to enact on the results of the referendum. It’s because this reason, among others, that the voters in Puerto Rico rejected him, and the candidates he supported, at the ballots last Tuesday.

There’s no excuse now to act on that will.

Section 402 of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, better known as ROMESA, paves the way for a federal-backed referendum regarding the admission of Puerto Rico into the Union.

Our newly elected governor, as well as our Resident Commissioner, have constantly stated their intent to submit legislation in Congress as soon as early January, for the admission of the island, in accordance with the 2012 results.

The people have spoken, both in Puerto Rico and in the rest of our nation, now the moment to act has arrived.

Jose Aponte-Hernandez is a state representative in Puerto Rico and is the former Speaker of the House for the territory.

The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

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