Joins Congressional Delegation to Spotlight Recovery Efforts

WASHINGTON – Last week, Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA) took part in a two-day congressional delegation in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to shine a light on recovery efforts following Hurricanes Maria and Irma, which took place nearly one year ago.

“Democrats pledged we would not forget about our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands as they recover and rebuild,” said Congressman McGovern. “We want to make sure that the failures of this administration during the weeks and months after Hurricane Maria are never repeated again – and we will continue to bring attention to those who are still in need of assistance nearly a year later.”

The delegation of 15 House Democrats and 1 House Republican met with working families, local government officials, community groups, and faith leaders to discuss the unfinished work of rebuilding. Their visits included a stop at Casa Pueblo, a non-profit community organization founded in 1980 that promotes environmental protection and green energy.

“In addition to doing all we can to expediate federal assistance to those still struggling to heal, I strongly believe we must support all those in Puerto Rico who want an energy-independent future, which would create countless jobs, lower energy costs, and encourage more private investments. Organizations like Casa Pueblo, which is solar-powered and focused on renewable energy, can help lead the way forward towards robust and sustainable growth,” added McGovern.

In addition to Casa Pueblo, the delegation met with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, staff and leadership at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), participated in a roundtable with local labor leaders, and surveyed several communities by land and air to get a firsthand look at the hurricane damage which still seriously hampers local economies.

“We need to do better in Puerto Rico,” said McGovern. Many of the problems we saw during our trip existed long before the hurricanes. Many of them were caused because Washington still treats Puerto Rico like a colony. We need to empower people on the island to determine a better future for themselves.”

McGovern was the only Massachusetts Member of Congress to participate in the trip. He previously visited in January to survey damage and talk about recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes. After he returned, he held an open house for Puerto Rican community leaders in Worcester to discuss what he saw and to talk about the path forward.

Photos below: the delegation’s arrival in Puerto Rico; workers at Casa Pueblo; members of the delegation holding a press conference in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico; and an aerial survey of hurricane damage via helicopter.