Monday, November 26, 2007

PR Young Dems participate in Remembrance of Labor Leader

By: Phillip Arroyo

On September 3rd, 2007 Puerto Rico Young Dems participated in a remembrance event for Puerto Rican Labor leader and father of the labor movement on the island, Santiago Iglesias Pantin. This event was organized by the Puerto Rico Senate and its President, the Honorable Kenneth McClintock Hernandez. Flower arrangements were presented and perched onto Santiago Iglesias's memorial statue just steps away from the Puerto Rico state capitol building. Santiago Iglesias Pantín (February 22, 1872 – December 5, 1939) was a Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, a "delegate" or nonvoting member to the United States House of Representatives.
Iglesias was born in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, where he attended the common schools, and was apprenticed as a cabinet maker. He moved to Cuba and was secretary of the Workingmen Trades Circle in Havana from 1889 to 1896.
Iglesias then moved to Puerto Rico, and was the founder and editor of three labor papers:
Porvenir Social (from 1898 to 1900)
Union Obrera (from 1903 to 1906)
Justicia (from 1914 to 1925)

He was appointed general organizer of the American Federation of Labor for the districts of Puerto Rico and Cuba in 1901, and he was a member of the Puerto Rican Senate from 1917 to 1933. In 1936, he was wounded during an assassination attempt by Puerto Rican Nationalist Party partisans.
Iglesias was elected as a Coalitionist Resident Commissioner on November 8, 1932, and was reelected in 1936 for the term ending January 3, 1941. He served in the 73rd, 74th, 75th, and 76th Congresses, from March 4, 1933 until his death.
He had three sons and eight daughters, including labor activist America Iglesias Thatcher.
Iglesias died in Washington, D.C., and was buried at the San Juan Cemetery, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Among the hundreds of people that assisted the event were representatives from all labor movements on the island including the Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL-CIO, and Central Union of Puerto Rico Workers among others.

YDAPR Chapter Congressional District Representative Sammy Rodriguez, YDAPR Chapter Secretary Carlos Catala and YDAPR Press Secretary Carlos Ramos were on hand at this historic event in representation of all young Dems on the island and our nation. Sammy Rodriguez and Carlos Ramos are both members of the National YDA Labor Caucus.

PR Democrat Corner will continue to provide coverage on all of the pending and held Young Democrats of America Puerto Rico Chapter events.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Maggie Martinez announces US Senate Bid!

By: Phillip Arroyo

Magdalena "Maggie" Martinez will attempt to make history as the first Puerto Rican to be elected to the United States Senate. Martinez, an ex member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives from 1996 to 2000, now sets her sights on becoming a Senator for the great state of Georgia, after having lived there for the past 7 years. Maggie announced her run for the Senate earlier this month in Georgia, yet she made a second announcement in Puerto Rico today at the New Progressive Party headquarters in San Juan.

Among the ex state representative's plans if elected are the following, as expressed by herself:

Honest Government & Open Government
We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government
as good as the people it serves, starting with real ethics reform.
I am committed to real ethics reform and meaningful campaign finance reform that
protect our rights and ensure that elected officials act ethically -- not just within the
law, but within the spirit of the law. I will make sure that an aggressive reform
package enters in effect to reverse Republican excesses and restore the public trust.
I am committed to immediate change to lead our country in a new direction, to put an
end to Republican business as usual, and to make certain that our nation's leaders
serve the people's interests, not special interests. For me, this commitment spans
our lifetime, as I am elected to represent the people in the U.S. Senate, not the
My goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of
government. To do so, I will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics
from every public servant, cut unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and
establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts.

Energy Independence
I will present bills and resolutions to study the possibilities for a cleaner,
greener and stronger America, by reducing our dependence on foreign oil,
eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings
to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in
energy independent technology.
Energy independence puts America in the driver's seat to pursue affordable and
efficient energy solutions that will benefit all Americans, improve America's security,
reduce the burden on American families, and help clean our environment.
American families should not have to pay the price for a “failed national energy
policy”. They deserve an energy policy that creates a cleaner and stronger America
that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and also creates new jobs for American
workers. By clearing the pathways to innovation, investing in our workers and
infrastructure, and providing American consumers with broader, more responsible
choices, my ideas to study the problems the Americans confront will provide the tools
to help move America forward, toward real energy security for the 21st century.

Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence
We will create jobs that stay in America and restore opportunity for all Americans, starting with raising the
minimum wage, expanding Pell grants and making college tuition tax deductible. We also believe in budget
discipline that reduces our deficit.
I believe that the most effective way to increase opportunity for our families is with a high-quality, good paying job. I
support fair trade agreements that raise standards for all workers here and abroad, while making American
businesses more competitive. We don’t believe in tax giveaways that reward companies for outsourcing, moving
American jobs overseas.
I believe in balancing budgets and paying down our national debt. Republicans continue to put huge burdens on
future generations by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign nations; we want to restore the budget
discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.
As a education advocate, I know that the key to expanding opportunity is to provide every child with a strong
foundation of education. We will also help expand educational opportunities for college by making college tuition tax
deductible, expanding Pell Grants, and cutting student loan interest rates. I will present a resolution to investigate the
reasons school tuition is so expensive, and I will look for other avenues to make education affordable and accessible
to everyone. It is unacceptable to see that approximatly only 25% of the nation's students graduate from college.
(Graduation 2007 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University).
I also want to make a commitment to review the Act "No Child Left Behind" and study the effects of this act in
education and its effectiveness.

Real Security
I will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our
allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough and smart, recognizing that homeland
security begins with hometown security.
As a Democrat I am committed to help establish a plan that is comprehensive, from repairing our military and winning
the war on terror, to protecting our homeland security and ensuring success in Iraq. We will finally prepare America
for the security needs of the 21st Century. We honor the sacrifices of our troops, their families and veterans by
taking good care of them when they come home. Democrats are unwavering in our commitment to keep our nation
safe. For me, homeland security begins with hometown security. That is why we led the fight to create the Department
of Homeland Security and continue to fight to ensure that our ports, nuclear and chemical plants, and other sensitive
facilities are secure. We support the increase in funding for our first responders and programs like COPS in order to
keep our communities safe. We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission

A Health care System that Works for Everyone
I will make sure we join the 36 other industrialized nations in making sure everyone has access to affordable
health care, starting by fixing the prescription drug program and investing in stem cell and other medical
United States is one of the wealthiest, most powerful nations in the world, yet it lacks the ability to provide proper
health care for its own citizens. Health care is not affordable for families with low incomes. No one should have to
choose between taking her child to a doctor and paying the rent. Democrats are committed to making sure every
single American has access to an affordable and effective health care plan.
I want to help to fix the disastrous Medicare Part D and ensured that our seniors could afford their prescription drugs.
I also believe in investing in life saving stem cell and other medical research that offers real hope and treatment for
millions of Americans.

Secure Retirement
I will ensure and secure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American,
starting with pension reform, expanding saving incentives and preventing the privatization of social security.
I believe that after a life of hard work, Americans earn a secure retirement. My commitment to protecting the promise
of Social Security is absolute. I recognize that Americans rely on more than just Social Security for a secure and
dignified retirement. As a Democrat I will continue to fight for genuine pension reform that protects employees’
financial security from future Enron-style abuse. We also want to work on new ways to help hard-working Americans
create retirement savings.

I believe it is our responsibility to protect America's natural resources. The health of our families and the strength of
our economy depend on our stewardship of the environment. I reject the false choice between a healthy economy
and a healthy environment. Farming, fishing, tourism, and other industries require a healthy environment. New
technologies that protect the environment will create new high-paying jobs. A cleaner environment means a stronger
economy. Far too many Americans live in unhealthy environmental conditions. Not to mention the water and
resources crisis we are currently suffering. I will fight to strengthen the laws that ensure we have clean air to breathe
and clean water to drink. Also, by resolution I will ask the Natural Resources Committee to study the water crisis and
possibilities to prevent future problems, and to be vigilant that laws are enforced.
I know that a sensible energy policy is a key to a strong economy, our national security, and a clean environment. I
am committed to the next generation of affordable and renewable energy for the 21st century and to conservation
measures that will immediately reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Civil Rights & Justice
Democrats are unwavering in our support of equal opportunity for all Americans. That's why we’ve worked to pass
every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws, and every law that protects workers. Most recently, Democrats stood
together to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Also, I will be vigilant with the bill that creates the new immigration law
and make sure immigrants are not discriminated in the process.
On every civil rights issue, Democrats have led the fight. We support vigorous enforcement of existing laws, and
remain committed to protecting fundamental civil rights in America.

Election Reform
A fundamental tenet of our democracy is the right to vote and have that vote counted. I will be vigilant in protecting
this right and ensuring that our voting system is fair for every American.
I am determined to reform the voting system in this country so that it includes verification, accountability, and
accuracy. It is imperative that we modernize election equipment, and guarantee access to polls with common sense
reforms such as Election Day registration, shorter lines, and early voting. I am committed to election reform and will
fight for federal standards that restore confidence in our voting process.

PR Democrat Corner will update and cover each and every event of Maggie Martinez's run for the Senate in detailed fashion. Stay Tuned!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Healthcare as a Constitutional Right Approved by the PR Senate!

By: Phillip Arroyo

On November 8th, 2007, Concurrent Senate Resolution 81, which would facilitate a state endorsed referendum to the people of Puerto Rico in order to elevate healthcare as a constitutional right in Puerto Rico, therefore amending the state constitution, was approved unanimously by the Puerto Rico Senate. This could be a very important step in finally making universal healthcare a reality on the island, especially when a considerate number of Puerto Rican families are unable to afford healthcare insurance due to the economic hardship the island is currently facing, as well as unequal treatment in federal programs such as Medicaid due to the island’s current political status.

At a moment when universal healthcare is a central topic of debate among our nation’s Presidential candidates, the fact that the Puerto Rico legislature has step up to the plate and moved this issue forward, has without a doubt brought hope to thousands of families in Puerto Rico that are desperately in need of quality healthcare. This piece of legislation sponsored by a group of New Progressive Party Senators and headed by Democratic ex governor Pedro Rossello, has secured the people of Puerto Rico with the opportunity to amend the island’s local constitution on May 4th, 2008 and finally establish healthcare as a right, NOT A PRIVILEGE.

This historic event will undoubtedly mark and define the well being of the island’s healthcare system for future generations in Puerto Rico. PR Democrat Corner will offer exclusive coverage on the day of such a historical referendum!