New Yorkers to Meet with Puerto Rican Government Representatives amid Crisis

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he will lead a delegation to Puerto Rico to meet with local officials and discuss the Puerto Rican governments’ ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges as well as the need for Washington to act. The Governor is leading the delegation at the invitation of Puerto Rico’s Governor, Alejandro García Padilla. The group will depart in the afternoon on September 7 and return early in the evening on September 8.

“New York and Puerto Rico have a special relationship bound in heritage, history, culture and family – and when times are tough we stand side by side and offer whatever help we can,” said Governor Cuomo. “The current situation in Puerto Rico has become unsustainable and is threatening the livelihoods of millions of people – many with strong connections to New York. This trip is about stepping up for Puerto Rico and its people, and I look forward to working together with our partners to help address this crisis.”

The Governor’s delegation (in formation) will include New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr., New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and members of the Governor’s administration with expertise on Medicaid redesign and fraud including New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and New York State Medicaid Director, Jason Helgerson.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said: “I thank Governor Cuomo for leading this trip to Puerto Rico to continue to push for an adequate response from the federal government to the crisis on the island. New York and Puerto Rico are inextricably linked, since our state is home to one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the U.S. We need to work together to raise our voice and call on the federal government to act now to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters before it is too late. I will continue to work with Governor Cuomo, the Puerto Rican and federal governments to find a resolution to the crisis facing the island. The Puerto Rican community has contributed greatly to this nation’s society, culture, armed forces and beyond. This trip is our way of saying that we will not abandon them now at this time of need.”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said: “Our state has a long and proud history with the people of Puerto Rico, and it’s important that we do everything possible to help them through this difficult period. With nearly one in ten New York City residents having roots on the Island, the current crisis hits home for many New Yorkers. I am pleased to join this delegation and look forward to sitting down with leaders here and in Puerto Rico to develop a thoughtful, long-term solution to the current crisis.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said: “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. I applaud Governor Cuomo for leading this delegation to see firsthand the challenges experienced by our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters, about 3.5 million Americans citizens.”

Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr. said: “For several months, I have been pushing for common sense solutions to Puerto Rico’s crisis. I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership on this issue, and commend him for taking action and putting together a strong delegation of elected officials to discuss with Puerto Rican officials 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.”

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said: “New York City has a direct stake in the success of Puerto Rico. Ensuring a strong and prosperous future for ‘Isla del Encanto’ is clearly in the best interest of our City, and I look forward to participating in the delegation as we identify strategies that can help us both grow and develop.”

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez said: “All Americans have a significant stake in how Puerto Rico’s crisis is resolved. I applaud Government Cuomo for exhibiting leadership on this issue. We must begin seeking solutions at all levels of government.”

After Puerto Rico, 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.