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Rossello Foresees Continued Republican Control Of U.S. House And Senate

Does not favor the recall process


October 16, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Both houses of Congress are likely to remain under Republican control following the U.S. general elections in November 2004, said former governor and New Progressive Party gubernatorial precandidate Pedro Rossello, a national Democrat.

"The way it looks right now, I think it is pretty clear that both the Senate and the House will remain Republican," Rossello said.

Up until very recently, he also thought the odds were that President George W. Bush would be re-elected. Following the Republican incumbent’s recent fall in popularity, however, Rossello now believes the next U.S. president could be a Democrat.

"I still think President George W. Bush is likely to be re-elected, but there is also a real possibility of having a Democrat as president," Rossello said.

At present, there are nine candidates in the Democratic presidential primary: former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois; Gen. Wesley K. Clark, U.S. Army (retired); former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont; Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina; Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri; Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts; Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio; Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; and the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York.

Sen. Bob Graham of Florida dropped out of the race last week. Rossello made his statements Friday during an interview with CB / WOW News staff at his Hato Rey headquarters.

Although Rossello knows several of the contenders personally, his affinity with Gov. Dean on both a political and professional level is well known. Rossello worked with the former governor during Dean’s years as vice president and, later, as president of the Democratic Governors Association.

Asked whether he would like to see Dean elected president if he were to win the governorship again, Rossello said that having Dean as president would be "a great opportunity for Puerto Rico" and for a change in the island’s status. "I know that on a needs basis, he [Dean] would be committed to resolving the status of Puerto Rico," Rossello said.

Rossello admitted to sharing numerous common interests, visions, and positions with the Democratic former governor of Vermont. Dean, a physician like Rossello, is also committed to providing a universal health plan, a program the former governor started to implement in Puerto Rico with the Health Reform.

Rossello said he also knows well the last candidate to have entered the race, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, whose candidacy has shaken the Democratic field. Rossello worked closely with Clark when the latter was commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Panama in the effort that resulted in the transfer to Puerto Rico of the Army component of Southcom, the U.S. Army South. Usarso has since been relocated to Houston, Texas.

The former governor was asked his opinion of the top story of the week on a national level: the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis and the election of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, as the state’s new governor.

Rossello admitted that from an academic point of view, he once favored the implementation in Puerto Rico of both the recall and the citizens’ initiative mechanisms. Now, after some consideration–and aware of how bitterly divided the political landscape in Puerto Rico is–he doesn’t favor the recall mechanism.

Recall refers to a referendum in which voters decide to remove an elected official. The citizens’ initiative allows individuals, instead of just the executive or legislative branch, to submit issues for consideration in a referendum.

In recent weeks, mounting criticism over the alleged ineptitude of Gov. Sila Calderon’s administration has prompted at least one prominent member of the Popular Democratic Party to openly call for her resignation. Last week Calderon reiterated that she has every intention of finishing her term.

"In Puerto Rico, the recall process wouldn’t work, because there are intense passions regarding politics. With each of the two major parties having 45% of the votes, recall could be used to destabilize any government," Rossello said. At present, 18 states have provisions for the recall of elected state officials: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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