HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Tampa Bay-area leaders have joined the push to get Puerto Rico full statehood.
- Hillsborough County joins push for Puerto Rico statehood
- Bill introduced earlier this year by Reps. Soto, Gonzalez-Colon
The Hillsborough County Commission is now on record supporting a bill that would make Puerto Rico a state without any conditions.
The bill was introduced earlier this year in the U.S. House by Reps. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) and Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colón (R-Puerto Rico).
Although Puerto Rico is part of the U.S., its residents cannot vote in elections for president or Congress.
"Because of the experience of Hurricane Maria, many Puerto Ricans realized that we will always be at the end of the line when it comes to drawing attention from Congress while we remain being a territory," former Puerto Rican Senate President Charles Rodriguez said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of wanting to give statehood not just to Puerto Rico but also the District of Columbia — possibly giving Democrats two to four additional Senate seats, assuming people would vote that way.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, on Twitter, said: "Mitch McConnell thinks that allowing the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to become states is 'socialism.' Well, that's another reason why I'm a proud Democratic socialist."
If the bill is passed, Puerto Rico would become the 51st state.