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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 Rights Reserved.


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.

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