Bernie Sanders Calls for Solidarity with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
More than a month after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico, millions of our fellow American citizens are still suffering. Power remains out for much of the island, many don’t know where their next meal is going to come from, and we are hearing horrifying stories of families so desperate that they are getting drinking water from hazardous waste sites.
The people of Puerto Rico are feeling isolated, fearful of the future and are wondering whether anyone on the mainland cares about them in the midst of this unprecedented crisis.
In just a few days, I am going to visit Puerto Rico myself to talk with families and listen to their stories. I will also be meeting with governmental leaders. I want the people there, as well as those in the Virgin Islands, to know that they are not alone, they have not been forgotten in their time of need. We will help.
Also, as a U.S. Senator, I want you to know I will demand that all the communities that have been impacted by the recent extreme weather disturbances be treated equally in terms of federal disaster relief, whether they are in Texas, Florida or Puerto Rico. We are one nation and we must stand together.
The time is long overdue for Congress to understand that these recent disasters, and those that will surely follow, are exacerbated by climate change. How insane is it to pour billions of dollars to rebuild devastated communities while continuing the same policies that led to their destruction? Now is the time to aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like wind and solar. Now is the time to begin the process of preventing future disasters.
While the rebuilding of Puerto Rico will be a long and difficult process, it will be of enormous comfort for the people living there to know that they are not alone and that we stand with them. Please help the people of the island obtain the food, water, electricity, housing and other basic necessities they need.