Cuomo And NY ‘Solidarity’ Delegation Arrive In Puerto Rico

CUOMO & NY SOLIDARITY DELEGATION ARRIVE IN SAN JUANNew Yorkers Meet with Puerto Rican Government Representatives Amid Crisis

On Monday evening, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo arrived in Puerto Rico with a New York delegation that will discuss the Puerto Rican government’s ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges. During the 24-hour visit, Governor Cuomo and the delegation are meeting with Puerto Rican officials to address ways of coping with those challenges and discussing the need for Washington to take action to help Puerto Rico.

“The Puerto Rican government is faced with a real crisis situation in both health care and their economy, and our goal is to find ways to be as helpful as possible,” said Governor Cuomo. “The connection between New York and Puerto Rico is one that stretches back over generations, and I am proud to be leading this delegation and joining with Governor García Padilla as we work to help Puerto Rico find a path to prosperity again.”

PR Debt Chart_The Globe and MailPuerto Rico has $72 billion in public debt – only California and New York have more. The $72B debt is “not payable” and needs restructuring, Governor García Padilla said in late June. Puerto Rico’s public entities, however, cannot file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection like U.S. municipalities.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito numbered among the “solidarity” delegation members.

 

NYS Office of the Governor

NYS Office of the Governor

 

For several months, BP Diaz has been pushing for common sense solutions to Puerto Rico’s crisis. Before leaving on the trip Diaz said, he looked forward to finding “ways to help develop achievable proposals and plans that support the future development of Puerto Rico and prevent a catastrophe for our fellow Americans who call Puerto Rico their home.”

Last month, Diaz spearheaded and wrote a letter, co-signed by over 100 elected officials from across the nation, demanding immediate action from Congress to enact legislation that will allow the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

“As Speaker of the New York State Assembly, the state with the largest number of Puerto Ricans in the country, I consider it crucial to travel to the island to listen to the needs of the local government and its people, and see the best way our state can help them out of this crisis,” said Speaker Heastie.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has noted that New York and Puerto Rico are inextricably linked, since New York city and state are home to one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the U.S. Mark-Viverito said public officials need to work together to raise their concerns and call on the federal government to act now to help Puerto Rico before it is too late.

“This trip is our way of saying that we will not abandon them now at this time of need,” said Speaker Mark-Viverito.

NYS Office of the Governor

NYS Office of the Governor

Governor Cuomo and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla delivered welcoming remarks to the delegation at La Fortaleza in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.

The delegation includes:
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo
Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer
Congressman Charles Rangel
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker
New York State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson
SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall
New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales
Puerto Rico Health Care Crisis Coalition President Dennis Rivera
1199SEIU President George Gresham
Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) President and CEO Kenneth Raske

New York is home to the largest population of Puerto Rican people in the world. Approximately 5 million Puerto Ricans live in the mainland United States.