Mitt Romney Would Support Puerto Rico Statehood Bid, Gov. Fortuno Says

Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño speaks to Fox News Latino after his speech at the RNC.


Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño praised the Republican presidential candidate’s commitment to supporting a bid for statehood Wednesday in an interview with Fox News Latino.

“He pledged that if we ask for statehood on November 6… that he would provide the leadership necessary to complete that process,” Fortuño said, referring to Mitt Romney.

It’s a long process, but it’s worth taking, after being American citizens for almost 100 years and being part of the United States for 120.

- Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño

Puerto Rican voters will decide whether to pursue independence, remain a commonwealth or seek statehood in a November referendum. Similar votes in the past have resulted in continuing the island’s commonwealth status.

Fortuño wants Puerto Rico to become the 51st state—a process that would require a debate in Congress and a plebiscite vote, if the November referendum turns back a result in favor of seeking statehood.

“It’s a long process, but it’s worth taking, after being American citizens for almost 100 years and being part of the United States for 120,” Fortuño said.

Fortuño, a Mitt Romney supporter since the GOP primary, said Romney had also pledged to include Puerto Rico in job creation programs and to protect Puerto Rico’s borders from drug traffickers.

Fortuño also spoke highly of Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan.  

“I’m convinced he will be a tremendous help to Gov. Romney next year in commencing to balance our budget, lower taxes and simplify our tax system,” Fortuño said.

Though Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, Fortuño said Congress must tackle the issue of illegal immigration if it wants to restart the economy.

“If we want to grow our economy, we have to fix the immigration system,” Fortuño said.

“There are only three Hispanic governors in the country. All of us are Republican,” Fortuño said. “But that’s not enough. The ideas we bring forth in the public discourse is what’s important.”

Fortuño says his party’s ideas have one overarching goal.

“Jobs, jobs, and jobs,” Fortuño told Fox News Latino, when asked what he thought most concerned Puerto Rican voters. “At the end of the day, that’s what is actually going to move the electorate this election. I’m convinced.”

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Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.