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Puerto Rico’s Governor Confident About Statehood

Luis Fortuno/Mitt Romney

The Governor of Puerto Rico is confident Puerto Ricans will vote to make the U.S. territory a state this fall, and despite recent comments from GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, English will not need to be made the primary language for that to happen.

As a territory, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in the general election November 6th. But, they will vote on a statehood referendum on that day. Gov. Luis Fortuno tells Fox News it will be a process but he is confident it will happen.

"It just makes sense. We have been part of the United States since 1898. Natural-born citizens since 1917. Our men and women have served in greater numbers than most states since then. And I believe that it's the right thing to do in the 21st century to allow almost 4 million American citizens to express our will and then to work with the White House and hopefully President Romney to address this issue."

All four of the GOP Presidential hopefuls would like to see Puerto Rico become a state. But it is Mitt Romney's more aggressive posture that helped him win Fortuno's endorsement.

Earlier this week, Santorum made headlines in Puerto Rican newspapers for saying Puerto Rico should be forced to adopt English as its official language. Santorum said, "everyone should speak English here. That's something that I think is essential to be an American period. Whether you're going to be a state or not, people should speak English."

Since then, Santorum has insisted his comments were misconstrued, and that he simply meant that English should be a common language among all Americans. There is no Constitutional requirement for new states to adopt English as an official language.

Fortuno says he feels strongly that it boils downs to a state's right issue. "As the father of triplets, I must tell that you most parents here want our children to be fully bilingual, to speak perfect English because it's the language of opportunity. But at the same time, we are proud of our heritage and we want to preserve the Spanish as well. There is no contradiction at all."

Governor Furtuno speaks highly of all four GOP candidates, including former Senator Santorum, but says he endorsed Romney in the primary because he says, "this election is about leadership."

Furtuno voted for Romney in Sunday's primary and says, he "saw a lot of excitement at the polls." In fact, Fortuno says that he's hearing stories from polling places that are running out of applications for new voters.

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