State Rep. David Richardson, a candidate for Congress this year, has begun a two-day listening tour in Puerto Rico. The visit will deal in part with the island’s recovery following Hurricane Maria.
According to a news release, Richardson is set to meet with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other officials to discuss the impact of relief efforts eight months after the island was struck. Hurricane Maria was the third major storm to hit the U.S. during last year’s hurricane season, following Harvey and Irma. The storm devastated the island and killed at least 112 people.
A New York Times investigation, however, said the death toll may actually be more than one thousand.
As this year’s hurricane season approaches, several areas are still without electricity. Puerto Rico received nearly $30 billion in federal aid to help recover from Hurricane Maria, far short of the $94 billion requested by the government of Puerto Rico.
Richardson blamed the White House for the assistance gap, saying South Floridians are in part “responsible for calling out the [Donald] Trump administration’s mistreatment of Puerto Rico” due to a large number of Puerto Ricans who call South Florida home.
The congressional hopeful continued to hit the administration, saying, “Not only has it failed in its duty to provide disaster relief after Hurricane Maria, but it has also allowed the island to continue sinking deeper into financial crisis.” That’s a reference to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, which presented problems for the island long before they were slammed by the storm.
In addition to meeting with lawmakers, Richardson also plans to meet with Vamos PR, a progressive group that aims to deal with Puerto Rico’s financial issues.
Richardson is running as a Democrat to replace the retiring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. He’s facing a packed primary, which will be decided on August 28.
“This listening tour is about letting local leaders guide national support and returning prosperity back to Puerto Rico. More U.S. lawmakers should do the same.”