Jenniffer González-Colón is Puerto Rico’s sole Representative to the U.S. Congress, and she is a Republican. She was elected November 2016, and became the first woman ever to hold the office. According to her website, Ms. Gonzalez-Colón received the most votes (over 718,000) out of any elected official on the Island in the past election.
Ms. González-Colón has an impressive history, first entering public office at the age of 25 as a state Representative, and then becoming the youngest member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. During her second term, she became Chair of the Puerto Rico House Government Affairs Committee, and at 33, she became Speaker of the House. Now, during Puerto Rico’s powerlessness, she has an opportunity to put those skills to work in bringing recovery to the island.
During the crisis of Hurricane Maria, Jenniffer has been working tirelessly to inform FEMA of the necessary resources that PR will require in order to rebuild. Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is crumbling, and the island had just declared bankruptcy in July. Gonzalez-Colon has an uphill battle ahead of her in working to provide Puerto Ricans with relief and support, but she has some powerful and influential Puerto Rican voices here in the U.S. who can work with her to help rebuild. One of them, Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known as the creator of “Hamilton: An American Musical” on Broadway, is feverishly working to raise funds through the Hispanic Federation, a nonpartisan nonprofit founded by Lin’s father, Luis A. Miranda, Jr.
Although there may be priorities of the Hispanic Federation that do not squarely line up with the Republican platform, this moment of crisis for Puerto Rico is not a moment for partisan squabbling. I look forward to see the efforts and achievements of Ms. Gonzalez-Colon on behalf of PR, and I also appreciate and applaud the efforts of Lin-Manuel using his popularity and platform to bring attention to the dire circumstances of Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico’s economic crisis was already underway before the hurricane hit, and now the population is suffering incredibly.
As for me, I will be donating to the first charity that hit the ground in Puerto Rico with necessary supplies and generators: Samaritan’s Purse, an organization founded by Billy Graham and currently run by his son Franklin Graham. There are many, many organizations that are working to provide relief and help in Puerto Rico, and we should work to focus our attention on helping our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico during this crisis.