Ardent Statehood Supporter Wins Puerto Rico's Governorship | NBC Connecticut
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Ardent Statehood Supporter Wins Puerto Rico's Governorship

He pledges to turn the territory into the 51st state

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    In this Oct. 29, 2016 photo, Ricardo Rossello, candidate for governor of Puerto Rico and president of the New Progressive Party, participates in a forum organized by the Gasoline Retailers Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rossello won the governor's race on Tuesday.

    An ardent supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico won the governor's race on the island Tuesday, after campaigning on a pledge to turn the economically troubled U.S. territory into the 51st state during his term.

    Ricardo Rosello of the New Progressive Party had nearly 42 percent, or 566,000 votes, when his main opponent, David Bernier, conceded defeat with more than 70 percent of precincts reporting. Bernier had more than 527,000 votes or 39 percent.

    A frenzied crowd waved U.S. flags as they waited for the 37-year-old Rossello to take the stage at his party's headquarters.

    Rossello, a scientist and the son of a former governor who also sought statehood for Puerto Rico, argues that barring island residents from voting for president deprives 3.5 million people of their full rights. He also says statehood would boost an economy mired in a decade-long slump, a belief that resonated with many voters.

    Pig Escapes Slaughterhouse Fate, Sells Original Paintings

    [NATL] Pig Escapes Slaughterhouse Fate, Sells Original Paintings

    A pig who escaped slaughter is now living out her life in a South African sanctuary and painting original works that have sold for up to $2,000.

    "She was really small when I rescued her," said Joanne Lefson, who manages the South African Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farm animals where the pig now lives. "She's very smart and intelligent so I placed a few balls and some paintbrushes and things in her pen, and it wasn't long before I discovered that she really liked the bristles and the paintbrush...She just really took a knack for it."

    Funds from the art sales go towards the sanctuary.

    (Published 5 hours ago)

    "It's terrible," Iris Highley, 72, said of not being able to vote for president. "Statehood will provide equality to the people of Puerto Rico."

    Rossello recently told The Associated Press that as governor he would draft a state constitution, hold elections to choose two senators and five representatives to Congress and send them to Washington to demand statehood, a strategy used by Tennessee to join the union in the 18th century.

    Nestor Montalvo, a 67-year-old retired government worker who voted for Rossello, said the win will likely mean more economic help and stability for Puerto Rico.

    "If that's not the case, we'll just keep sinking further," he said.

    Clinton Gives First Major Post-Election Speech

    [NATL] Hillary Clinton Gives First Major Post-Election Speech at Event for Businesswomen

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her first major public speech on Tuesday since losing the 2016 presidential election, speaking at a meeting of the Professional Businesswomen of California organization in San Fransisco, California.

    (Published 3 hours ago)

    Montalvo was among the nearly 2.9 million people registered to vote, and lines of up to two hours were reported in some places. Despite heavy downpours, turnout appeared to be heavy amid widespread anger and frustration over an economic crisis that has led to a series of unpopular austerity measures.

    In an attempt to generate more revenue, the administration of current Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has increased utility rates, imposed new taxes and declared a state of emergency at several government agencies. The measures have increased an exodus to the U.S. mainland, with more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans leaving the island in recent years.

    Rossello's win throws into question the future of the party led by Bernier, who has acknowledged that Puerto Rico's commonwealth status — on which his party was built — is no longer viable.

    "We fought a hard and intense battle," Bernier said as he conceded defeat. "It's a very difficult moment for the history of this party."

    Bernier was hurt by anger over the economy, a corruption scandal involving his Popular Democratic Party and the emergence of two independent candidates who appealed to an increasing number of voters.

    Rafael Soto Pacheco, an employee in the island's Treasury Department, said he supports statehood but voted for Bernier because he believes he had the most political experience. However, he said in the end it doesn't matter who wins.

    "The federal control board is going to be our next governor," he said, referring to a board created earlier this year to oversee Puerto Rico finances as the island's government seeks to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt that Garcia has said is unpayable.

    Garcia, a member of Bernier's party, did not seek a second term.

    Mom Tells Son's Story in Fight for NIH Funding

    [NATL-DC] Mom Tells Son's Story in Fight for NIH Funding

    Pediatric cancer research is one of the least funded and proposed budget cuts to NIH will deplete it even more. A family whose child died from pediatric cancer is testifying on Capitol Hill Wednesday, March 29, to save the funding. Tammi and Jason Carr in Michigan founded the ChadTough Foundation to honor their son Chad, who died at age 5 after battling a brain tumor. News4’s Shomari Stone reports. 

    (Published Tuesday, March 28, 2017)