Last year, while most Americans were focusing on the contentious presidential election, there was another critical election that could have an outsized influence on American politics for years to come.
The vote on the island asked Puerto Ricans whether they supported statehood for the island — the third such status vote in less than 10 years. Once again, the majority of Puerto Rican voters, 52.34 percent, supported statehood. It is now incumbent upon Congress to take action.
In addition to Puerto Rico’s representative Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon in the House of Representatives and others, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the former chairwoman and current senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has an opportunity to play a crucial role.
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over issues surrounding Puerto Rico’s status. The committee would be the first step for relevant legislation in the Senate. This is one direct tie for Sen. Murkowski. A less direct tie is that the senator was born in Alaska at a time when it was still a territory, which may help her understand this issue better than most. (Read more from “Lisa Murkowski Could Move the Puerto Rico Statehood Bill Forward” HERE)