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Resident Commissioner Primary Heats Up… Pesquera — Rossello Debate Called For… Evangelicals Join Rossello’s Campaign… Acevedo Vila Selects A Campaign Manager… College Grants For Veterans' Children… Calderon To Receive Harvard Award… Puerto Ricans Return From Gulf Deployment… Census: Puerto Ricans Deficient In English

Resident Commissioner Primary Heats Up

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

October 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

While former Economic Development Secretary Luis Fortuño alleged his numbers tell him he will win the November 9 resident commissioner primary, his most experienced contender, former governor Carlos Romero, said the rookie politician’s campaign has deflated.

"In the beginning he was at the top and I was behind him. Now he is going down and I am going up. I clearly know that I am in the lead," Romero said.

The veteran politician noted that his experience had turned the table and put him at the top, because he doesn’t have to prove himself to people.

"Candidates are sold to the people as a big thing, but when the people see them and get to know them they get disappointed," Romero said.

Fortuño, who is the only one, of the four resident commissioner primary candidates to have Rossello in his advertising campaign, argued he was the only contender in the New Progressive Party resident commissioner race to be a member of the former governor’s team.

Romero, however, alleged that all four candidates are part of the campaign team.

Although Romero acknowledged that he had been invited to br part of the Rossello committee only in recent days, he was quick to point out that Fortuño was lying because all candidates were now participating in the group.

"That is false. The four of us were invited in recent days to be part of Rossello’s committee. He [Fortuño] is attributing to himself an exclusivity that doesn’t exist," Romero said.

Fortuño and Romero held separate press conferences on Monday morning .

While Fortuño announced his proposal for economic development, Romero announced his decision to issue a letter to all Members of Congress informing them about the U.S. Federal District Court in San Juan’s decision to reprimand U. S. Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila for filing libelous charges against him.

Fortuño made his announcement at his campaign headquarters in Hato Rey; Romero Barcelo made his two blocks away, at San Juan Mayor Jorge Santinis’ campaign headquarters.

Fortuño who was Santini’s campaign manager, reacted with surprise when told that Romero was holding a press conference at the nearby committee. He denied however that the gesture should be seen as support by the mayor for the former resident commissioner.

"No, believe me, I was with Santini on Friday. This is probably just an act of courtesy because Romero doesn’t have a committee," said a smiling Fortuño.

Santini spokesman Carlos Bermudes said the mayor has not endorsed any candidate and will continue to help all of them. Bermudes said the committee headquarters were also used by Fortuño in the past.

Pesquera — Rossello Debate Called For

October 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) Secretary General William Rosales distanced himself Monday from NPP pre-gubernatorial candidate former Gov. Pedro Rossello, who opposes a debate before the Nov. 9 primaries.

Rosales said the debate could be beneficial for many people who, according to the polls, still don’t know whether to vote for Rossello or NPP President Carlos Pesquera in the gubernatorial primaries.

"I respectfully differ from Rossello. I believe that it is important at the moment for Puerto Rican voters to be able to evaluate the proposals of each candidate," Rosales said in a radio interview.

"One of the reasons why this debate could be effective is that it would answer many questions about the proposals, so voters can decide who to vote for," he added.

Evangelicals Join Rossello’s Campaign

October 10, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — A group of evangelical pastors announced Friday their integration into the political campaign of former Gov. Pedro Rossello for the New Progressive Party gubernatorial nomination.

Eugene Rodriguez, of the Evangelical Church Ministry, indicated that as part of the group’s work, there will be a series of "pastoral breakfasts" throughout the island, in which the former governor will participate.

"We identify ourselves as ministers, and we are here; we have a committee, and that committee of religious people will advise Rossello," Rodriguez said in a press conference at Rossello’s campaign committee headquarters.

Acevedo Vila Selects A Campaign Manager

October 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila announced on Sunday that he has selected Gabriel Alonso to be his campaign manager.

Alonso, 33, used to work as executive director of the Housing Development Administration until Oct. 1.

"Gabriel Alonso, a talented young man who is committed to Puerto Rico, has accepted the calling to join a new generation," Acevedo Vila said in a prepared statement.

Acevedo Vila added that the campaign manager would later announce the other members of his committee.

College Grants For Veterans' Children

October 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Roberto Prats filed a bill on Sunday to create a college grant program for Puerto Rican veterans' children.

Should the bill be approved, it would create the 65th Infantry Grant Program with an initial budget of $300,000 and it would be managed by the Veterans Procurer's Office.

Prats said veterans' children may qualify for grants of up to $5,000.

"This bill has been filed to reciprocate in some way the courage, dedication, and commitment that our veterans have shown," Prats said in a prepared statement.

Calderon To Receive Harvard Award

October 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Gov. Sila Calderon will receive the Harvard Foundation Award in recognition for her special communities administration program, La Fortaleza said in a written statement.

The award from the prestigious Harvard University will be given Friday during an activity at the Government School, where Calderon will be the main speaker.

"The award recognizes the governor’s labor as the promoter of the historic project that set the ground for the transformation of the most forgotten, deprived and needed sectors of the islands, promoting social change thru self-management," reads the statement.

According to the press statement, Calderon is the first Puerto Rican to receive the award that has previously been granted to renowned figures such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jordan’s Queen Noor, Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson, and Nobel prize winners Nobel Desmont Tutu and Elie Weisel, among others.

Calderon will attend the ceremony along with several Puerto Rican Harvard alumni, such as University of Puerto Rico President Antonio Garcia Padilla.

Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers will present the award to Calderon.

The governor will also meet with Latin and Puerto Rican student organizations during her stay in Boston.

Puerto Ricans Return From Gulf Deployment

October 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — After eight months of serving as military police in Saudi Arabia, 120 Puerto Rican soldiers of National Guard Unit 480 returned Sunday to the island.

The tears and demonstrations of affection dominated the welcoming ceremony in the patio of the National Guard in Puerta de Tierra, according to published reports.

The place was full of colored balloons, signs with welcoming messages, flowers, and Puerto Rican flags.

"I love you, and I missed you very much," said a crying soldier Michelle Rodriguez to her son Christan de Jesus, whom she took in her arms.

Gen. Francisco Marques said Gov. Sila Calderon will receive the group at La Fortaleza during a special activity. However, a date was not given.

Marques said there are still three active Military Police companies, two in Iraq and another in Texas. There is also a battalion of suppliers in Kuwait.

Census: Puerto Ricans Deficient In English

October 10, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — According to the 2000 census, some 2.5 million Puerto Ricans, or 71.9% of the population, acknowledged that they speak English poorly.

Out of the 3.5 million people who answered the census, 2,527,156 chose the "less than well" option when asked to rate their command of the English language, according to published reports.

Those who said they speak English "very well" represented only 28.1% of the population.

The census results were released at a time when the Senate is still evaluating the possibility of changing the current law to make Spanish the only language of the island.

In 1993, then-Gov. Pedro Rossello declared English and Spanish as the island’s official languages and said either could be used in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

He thereby revoked the 1991 law approved by then-Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon, which made Spanish the island’s official language.

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