Puerto Rican officials on Wednesday introduced the territory’s “Statehood Commission,” a shadow congressional delegation that will make the case for the territory’s statehood. Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R) announced the commission’s members on the House floor, saying territorial status subjects Puerto Ricans “to a second-class citizenship.” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) named former governor Carlos Romero Barceló (D) and Zoraida Fonalledas (R) as shadow senators; and former governor Pedro Rosselló González (D), former governor Luis Fortuño (R), former president of the Senate of Puerto Rico Charles Rodríguez (D), former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship Alfonso Aguilar (R), and baseball Hall of Famer Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez (I) as shadow representatives.
Fortuño and Romero were both once resident commissioners, so they have access to the House floor.
Rosselló said Wednesday that because of the lack of federal support for Puerto Rico’s recovery after hurricanes Irma and Maria, “everyone has seen not only on a theory level, but on a pragmatic level, what it means to be a second-class citizen.”
“The opportunity was there to show that we were going to be treated equally,” said Rosselló, “and by and large there has been a demonstration that we weren’t.”