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Mike Bloomberg Releases Economic Recovery and Rebuilding Plan for Puerto Rico; Endorses Statehood

January 27, 2020

Economic plan provides the relief necessary to create stability and growth, promote improved governance and fiscal responsibility for the 3.2 million American citizens residing in Puerto Rico. For more information on the plan, download the fact sheet here.

Op-eds in the Orlando Sentinel and El Nuevo Día (to be published later today) argue that until Puerto Rico becomes a state, it will continue to lack the tools and resources needed to build a stronger economy and recover from disaster.

NEW YORK — Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg released an economic plan for Puerto Rico that includes resolving the Territory’s debt and budget problems, moving disaster response and rebuilding funds quickly, and planning reconstruction and other infrastructure investments to position Puerto Rico for long-term, sustainable economic success. Mike’s plan supports Puerto Rican efforts to overhaul the current electrical grid, to help Puerto Rico fulfill its vision for a 100% clean and renewable energy system that is decentralized and more resilient to future disasters. He also proposes changes to how the federal government supports disaster response and relief, with an emphasis on building the island’s resilience to storms, flooding, and other effects of climate change.

Mike also endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico. Mike believes that until Puerto Rico becomes a state, it will continue to lack the tools and resources needed to build a stronger economy and recover from disasters – and Congress will continue sending just enough money to put band-aids on problems, without actually fixing them.

“For decades, Puerto Ricans and their interests have been ignored by Washington. And there’s a simple reason why: They don’t have a vote in Congress. And so politicians don’t have to care how they feel,” said Mike Bloomberg. “There’s a clear solution to this challenge that a majority of Puerto Ricans support. Most presidential candidates for president have been too afraid to back it. Not me. I’ll state it clearly: I support statehood for Puerto Rico. And as president, I will work to pass a bill making it a reality, subject to approval by the people of Puerto Rico – who will make the ultimate decision.”

Mike’s economic plan for Puerto Rico will provide the same safety net funding to Puerto Rico as any other U.S. state, including fair funding for Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child Tax Credit, in addition to full Social Security benefits. Mike’s plan will ensure expedited release of reconstruction funds and focus on building the island’s capacity to respond to a disaster through increased community engagement, partnerships with key institutions, and funding regular disaster preparedness assessments. And, Mike will make the island more resilient to storms, flooding, and other effects of climate change through investments in energy, telecom, public safety, transportation, natural areas, and community-based planning. He’ll help make Puerto Rico’s energy system more sustainable and resilient to the next disaster by speeding up the creation of a decentralized and efficient power system prioritizing distributed renewable energy like solar and wind, microgrids, and energy storage.

As mayor of New York City, and through his philanthropic work, Mike has been a longtime supporter of Puerto Rico. He has made several trips to the island, worked closely with the Puerto Rican community in New York, and been a vocal advocate for the rights of Puerto Ricans as American citizens.

By contrast, President Trump, who has described himself as the “savior of Puerto Rico,” has taken every opportunity to avoid helping the U.S. territory when it needed it most. He personally intervened in budget talks to cut Medicaid funding to Puerto Rico by half. He delayed, and in some cases refused, sending disaster relief funds to Puerto Rico on multiple occasions – in response to Hurricane Dorian, Hurricane Maria, and the earthquakes in 2020 – hiding behind the claim that the elected leadership of Puerto Rico was corrupt. Trump also promised during the 2016 campaign that he supported statehood, but in September 2019, he said on a radio interview that statehood was an “absolute no”, citing his running feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. At every turn, the Puerto Rican people have been betrayed by this President.

For more information on the plan, download the fact sheet here.
To read Mike’s op-ed supporting statehood, click here.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES

Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL):

“It’s essential for Americans in Puerto Rico to know that their votes will be taken seriously. It’s key that the next President will act and support statehood.”

Jesús Edgardo “Gardy” Colón of Orocovis:

“My town of Orocovis was devastated after Hurricane Maria. We lost businesses, farms were destroyed, roads were blocked, homes were ripped apart, and our people were devastated. I was and still am devastated by their suffering. We are Americans. But, we have no voice in Congress and we were not treated like other Americans. Only a third of the $43 billion allocated for Puerto Rico has been spent and we have so little say in where the money goes, even though we are the ones that know our people’s needs. We cannot respond adequately at the local level to the disasters that shape our lives. We are a resilient island, but we need a voice in Washington that gives us a hand to help us progress after these natural disasters. We need to do things right and things need to get done fast. Mike Bloomberg knows this and he has great plans for Puerto Rico. We know he will do what he says and that he says what he means. Mike will make the reconstruction of Puerto Rico, and the well-being of its 3.2 million citizens, a personal priority as president. I trust him and I support him.”

Mayor Rosachely Rivera of Gurabo:

“Here in my town of Gurabo and across the Island, we’re still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Maria while earthquakes and severe weather threaten to reverse what progress we’ve been able to make. Mike Bloomberg understands the challenges we face. He will make sure we receive all the federal assistance allocated to rebuild Puerto Rico and strengthen our resilience to climate change. Mike also will help us restructure the Island’s debt in a fair and independent manner so that we can start investing in our people and institutions again. And he knows Puerto Rico’s current status puts us at a disadvantage. Mike supports statehood and believes Puerto Ricans should have the same rights and support as all other American citizens. This is the leadership and commitment we need from our next president, and that’s why I’m proud to stand with Mike Bloomberg.”

Puerto Rico Senator Miguel Romero:

“Puerto Rico’s poverty rate is two times higher than any U.S. state. But without equal representation in Congress, we receive less federal funding for Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, and other key federal programs, and we don’t even participate at all in the Earned Income Tax Credit that promotes labor participation or Supplemental Security Income program for our disadvantaged citizens. We are working hard to make sure our families can put food on the table and get the health care they need while we rebuild from catastrophic weather events — all while we’re saddled with a crushing debt burden. I’m proud of the strength and resilience of our people, but we need more help. Mike Bloomberg has put forward a comprehensive and common-sense plan to help Puerto Rico rebuild and invest in our long-term success. He supports statehood for Puerto Rico, a fair debt restructuring process, more effective delivery of federal assistance for reconstruction and resilience efforts, and a clean energy plan that won’t put an undue burden on our low-income and rural communities. Mike will continue to be a to Puerto Rico and I know he will be our partner in the White House.”

Mayor Lornna Soto of Canóvanas:

“Puerto Rico is America. Every Puerto Rican is an American citizen and we are proud of that. We want statehood so that we can be equally represented in Washington. Mike Bloomberg understands this and knows that, once we become a state, we will have the ability to enhance our economy and receive the support to properly rebuild our infrastructure for resilience, so that next time there’s a storm or natural disaster, we will be more than ready. We will stop putting band-aids on our problems and instead fix them for good. I support Mike because he supports Puerto Rico. He always has supported us and he will get the job done.”

Jonathan Marvel, Principal at Marvel Architects with offices in New York and San Juan:

“Mike Bloomberg has always been a friend to the people of Puerto Rico. As a Puerto Rican and a New Yorker, I know that he will make the reconstruction of the island, and the well-being of its 3.2 million citizens, a personal priority as president of the United States. He will put Puerto Rico in his federal infrastructure investment plan. He will upgrade our schools, housing, public transportation, telecommunications, the water supply, the energy grid, and connect all the people of Puerto Rico to high-speed internet. Mike will invest in growth by using reconstruction funds to rebuild the island’s infrastructure and economy and increase Puerto Rico’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. I believe in Mike because he is a pragmatist who knows how to get things done. I have seen the positive impact he had in New York after Superstorm Sandy as Mayor, and I know he will do the same for Puerto Rico as President.”

Luis Carlos Robles, Director of Operations at Resilient Power Puerto Rico:

“Mike Bloomberg believes in investing in clean energy, resilience and infrastructure. Solar energy could be the cornerstone of Puerto Rico’s recovery and future economic development. Communities working together, designing their own infrastructure and systems according to their needs and wants can lead any island, and the world itself, to a prosperous, equitable and resilient future for all. Mike Bloomberg believes in investing in clean energy, resilience and infrastructure. He knows those dollars are never wasted. He will be a strong advocate for the people of Puerto Rico and I look forward to working with him to make our beautiful island a shining star in the energy sector.”

Francisco J. Cerezo, attorney, member of the Democratic Party and community leader:

“Puerto Ricans are a strong and resilient people, but we are suffering. The Trump administration has unjustly abandoned the people of Puerto Rico, and has chosen to play divisive politics at the time of Puerto Rico’s greatest need. Mike Bloomberg knows that the over three million American citizens living in Puerto Rico are not second-class citizens. He understands the issues facing the island, and is committed to supporting Puerto Rico. For years he has served the broader Puerto Rican diaspora as Mayor of New York, so the issues that affect Puerto Ricans are not new to him. Indeed, he has stood with Puerto Rico for years.

“Mike has a comprehensive and thoughtful socio-economic plan to rebuild Puerto Rico so that it will be competitive in today’s global economy. He has pragmatic yet innovative ideas and, importantly, he has Puerto Rico-specific solutions. He’ll help build the island’s disaster response capabilities, rebuild the capacity of the labor force, empower entrepreneurs and women as engines of progress, invest in energy, education, public safety, health, transportation and more. He will listen and empower Puerto Ricans to create the Puerto Rico we deserve so the island can fully recover and take part in long-term socio-economic success.”

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