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FEDERAL DOCUMENT CLEARING HOUSE - Political Transcripts
Kennedy Promises Federal Status Plebiscite if Democrats
Win Back House in 2000
House Democrats Hold News Conference on Control
of the House
November 12, 1999
Copyright © 1999 FEDERAL DOCUMENT CLEARING HOUSE, INC. All
SPEAKER: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE PATRICK
KENNEDY (D-RI), CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
QUESTION: On the issue
of the Hispanic vote, you have the island of Vieques off Puerto
Rico where there are discussions now for the Navy to resume bombing.
Do you feel that -- and Vice President Gore and first lady Hillary
Clinton have come in favor of the Puerto Rican position -- do
you feel that this is going to be used by Republicans to say that
Democrats are weak on defense and it might affect Hispanic districts?
KENNEDY: Well, I can say
this much. The situation in Vieques highlights the age-old issue
in Puerto Rico, and that is of the status for Puerto Rico. The
fact of the matter is, no one in this town for a moment would
doubt that this wouldn't even be an issue if Puerto Rico had two
United States' senators and seven members of United States Congress.
You wouldn't have had this situation to begin with unless the
people of Puerto Rico had approved of it.
So you have Puerto Rico being treated in a second-class fashion
because they're a territory. And that is why, when we get the
House back, we're going to bring up a bill to allow the status
question to go before the people of Puerto Rico in an unvarnished
fashion, in a straight fashion that allows all the options to
be voted on and allows the people of Puerto Rico to have a say
in their own self - determination. And once that happens, I'm
confident all these other issues will ultimately resolve themselves,
because the people of Puerto Rico will have a vote themselves.