Puerto Rico deserves its star: Alaskans should join Rep. Don Young in supporting statehood

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner | 6/23/2017 | Staff
erinmmarion (Posted by) Level 3
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News-Miner opinion: It has been nearly 58 years since the last star was added to the U.S. flag when Hawaii joined the union in August 1959. In a referendum 10 days ago, Puerto Rico residents voted to become the next. The matter isn’t up to residents alone, of course — Congress and the president would have to sign off on the admission of a new state, and there are many political hurdles that stand in between America’s closest possession and statehood. But those obstacles existed for Alaska, too, and we had allies who helped us gain entry to the U.S.

As Puerto Rico seeks its star, it should have Alaska’s support.

Frontier - Boat - Many - Concerns - Statehood

It wasn’t so long ago, after all, that the Last Frontier was in the same boat. Many of the concerns raised by those skeptical of Puerto Rican statehood mirror those of Alaska opponents in the 1950s. It’s too far away, statehood opponents would argue, and the culture is too different from the rest of America. Others are concerned the territory won’t be able to earn its keep. “We were the 49th state and I heard the same arguments then,” Rep. Don Young said in a statement announcing his support for Puerto Rico’s statehood bid.

Rep. Young is right to call out the tired arguments trotted out by statehood opponents now, which are as hollow as they were when Alaska sought entry as a state in the 1950s. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens for a century, but its 3.4 million people are unrepresented in Congress and cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections.

Privileges - Self-governance - Statehood - Puerto - Rico

And without the privileges of greater self-governance granted by statehood, Puerto Rico’s status is similar to Alaska’s in territorial days — less able to substantially govern its affairs or enjoy the privileges of membership in the United States, a colony...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
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