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Puerto Rico on Wednesday announced a new push for statehood after last year's effort was disrupted by two disastrous hurricanes.
Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, the U.S. territory's nonvoting member of Congress, went to the House floor Wednesday along with a proposed delegation of two senators and five representatives to demand that Congress recognize Puerto Rico as a state.
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“The island overwhelmingly voted for statehood in 2012 by a margin of 61 percent and 97 percent in June of last year," Gonzalez said. Despite those numbers, only 24 percent of the population participated in the 2017 plebiscite that is often cited as evidence of broad support for statehood.
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"That’s the request that brought me here, that’s what brings the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, the Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera-Schatz, House Speaker Johnny Mendez, and other officials that have come to witness today’s historic introduction of the Puerto Rico Shadow Delegation to this Congress,” she added. "That delegation will demand that the United States recognize the will of Puerto Rico to become a state."
Puerto Rico's approach to pursuing statehood changed in mid-2017 to embrace the same strategy Tennessee famously used in 1796, when it sent a shadow congressional delegate to lobby lawmakers in Washington. Six states later followed Tennessee's example and transitioned from territories to states.
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"It is our moral imperative to demand Congress recognize 3.4 million disenfranchised Americans. It is time to end Puerto Ricans’ second-class citizenship, and statehood...
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