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Statement Issued By The Governor Of The Commonwealth Of Puerto Rico Honorable Sila M. Calderon On Her Decision Not To Seek Re-Election
May 22, 2003
SAN JUAN - Today, Governor Sila M. Calderon addressed the people of Puerto Rico. Following is a translation of her statement:
My dearest fellow Puerto Ricans, thank you for giving me the chance to enter your homes and for listening to my message. Tonight, I want to share something very important with you all.
In 1999 I answered a call from the Puerto Rican public for a change in government. At that time, the people demanded a respectful, serious and responsible government, but above all, an honest government; one that could look corruption in the face as it permeated the existing administration in Puerto Rico and threatened the stability of our institutions.
I assumed this responsibility for Puerto Rico. I attacked corruption with full force and today Puerto Ricans can say with pride that we have an honest and clean government, and that the careless attitude of government corruption is, thank God, a thing of the past.
At the end of these four years, in December of 2004, I would have served eight years as an elected official, with four years as San Juan's Mayor and four years as Puerto Rico's Governor. Previously, I served five years as Chief of Staff for the Governor of Puerto Rico, as Secretary of State, and three years as Special Assistant to the Governor of Puerto Rico during the decade of the 70s.
I have dedicated nearly 17 years of my professional life to public service in Puerto Rico. I have done it with great enthusiasm, total dedication and above all, I have done it with profound love and passion for this island which I love with all of my might.
For a long time I have thought seriously about the stage of my life in which I find myself now and about the years ahead. After much thought I have come to the difficult decision not to run for a second term as Governor of Puerto Rico, but instead, to look forward to a much more balanced life in my remaining years, God willing.
As you know, June 1st is the last date to declare candidacy. Some time ago I made this decision, but it is only now that I can communicate it to you. I am sharing this with you personally, so that you can hear it straight from me, and so that you know what to expect of my government in the time to come.
It has been an extremely difficult decision, with profound emotional impact, because it will imply getting rid of something for which I have the deepest sentiment-public service for my country.
At the same time, for the next year and a half, this decision will allow me to dedicate all my time and energy to the job which you elected me to do; and that gives me immense satisfaction.
The work I began in the first two years of my administration has begun to bear fruit. Between now and the end of my term in December of 2004, I will be by your side to inaugurate hundreds of new projects and to reap the benefits of the many excellent programs we have already implemented.
In the next 19 months I will be working harder than ever and with the utmost determination. During that time, I will focus my efforts on three priorities:
First, I will continue to push for economic development and the creation of jobs, particularly in the manufacturing, construction and public work sectors. Nothing is more important than job creation in these times of global recession, and I will focus all of my Administration's efforts towards this objective.
Second, I will make sure that the rehabilitation and construction of housing and infrastructure gets underway in each and every one of the 686 Special Communities of Puerto Rico. In these communities, more than one million Puerto Rican men and women, our brothers and sisters, live under unacceptable conditions. This reaches the bottom of my heart. In Puerto Rico, there are still so many people that have nothing, so many fathers and mothers that cannot take care of the needs of their children. There are so many who suffer through poverty in silence. This is unjust and fills me with sadness. This is the reason why I will not stop until all work in the Special Communities has begun and is moving forward.
Third, I will intensify my efforts alongside the Police Superintendent and the Drug Czar, in our battle against crime and drugs. There is much to do to make our streets and our neighborhoods safer. I want a larger police presence and preventive programs for boys and girls. I will double my efforts in this fight against crime.
Friends, public service can and should be an honorable and dignified role. I believe in public service. Also, I believe in the Puerto Rican youth, in their capabilities and talents. This is how I know that Puerto Rico has a great future.
My fellow Puerto Ricans, it is a great honor to be your Governor. I feel a deep respect for the position that I hold. In these times of economic recession, of terrorism and war - very difficult times in which I had to govern - I have done it with unrelenting dedication, persistence and have focused all my energies and put all of my heart into my work. I will continue to do so everyday, until the last minute of my term as Governor of this Island. There will be no responsibility I do not accept; there will be no effort left undone, and there will be no difficulty I won't confront. There will be no obstacle I will not face.
I want to bring happiness to the Puerto Rican people. I want to make their dreams into realities. I want to help their children succeed. I also want to help them carry the torch of the new Puerto Rico, to help steer them on the right path towards an even more promising future.
I will have to work hard and fight with more determination and strength than ever to finish the work I have begun, and to continue to bring you the clean and respectful government you asked for, and which you deserve. This is my pledge to you. The Office of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
CONTACT: Luis Torres Negron of The Office of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, +1-787-721-7000, ext. 2230.