David Santiago, Rene Plasencia, Bob Cortes headed for Puerto Rico for talks

David Santiago, Rene Plasencia, Bob Cortes

Florida state Reps. Bob Cortes, Rene Plasencia, and David Santiago are headed to Puerto Rico Wednesday for continuing talks on developing relationships between the commonwealth’s government and Florida’s government.

The trio of Central Florida Republicans all have Puerto Rico heritage and represent districts with large populations of Puerto Rican migrants. Cortes is from Altamonte Springs; Plasencia, Orlando; and Santiago, Deltona.

They plan to visit the commonwealth’s Capitol in San Juan to meet with Puerto Rico House Speaker Carlos Méndez Núñez, the chief of staff to the Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and the island government’s executive director of ports. Later they plan to meet with Ponce Mayor Maria Melendez and the executive director of the Puerto de las Americas in Ponce.

Cortes said the trip is intended as a continuation of talks begun earlier this year with the hope of developing stronger joint economic opportunities in both Puerto Rico and Florida. He also said the trio are paying their own way, so that no tax dollars are involved.

“With Florida becoming home to so many Puerto Ricans, it is vital that we maintain a strong relationship with officials from the island,” Cortes stated in a news release. “This trip will be invaluable for strengthening our connection with Puerto Rican officials and discussing issues of common concern, so that we’re all better equipped to serve our constituents well.”

Those talks included visits by Puerto Rican officials to Central Florida earlier this year, including stops at Lake Nona’s Nemour’s Hospital, the BRIDG high-tech manufacturing center that just opened in Kissimmee, the University of Central florida incubator in Kissimmee, and Port Canaveral.

“With the population of Puerto Ricans in Florida exceeding 1 million, it is imperative that our two governments have a dialogue on how to address not only the impact that is being felt across all Florida communities, but also on the island of Puerto Rico,” Plasencia added.

Cortes’s, Plasencia’s and Santiago’s visit runs through Friday.

“We are looking forward to very productive discussions while we are in San Juan and Ponce,” Santiago stated. “We appreciate this invitation and believe the visit will be time well spent on behalf of our constituents.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Andrew Nappi

    August 31, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Seems to me, and I could just be guessing, but the RPOF is sending these ambassadors to somehow influence Puerto Ricans to not vote democrat when they arrive here. We also have millions of Yankee voters here who want to make our state a lite version of the worker’s paradise they came here to escape, but I see no political missions to NY,NJ or MI by the RPOF. What gives?

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