ATLANTIC CITY — Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Pierluisi received a rock star welcome at the Showboat Resort during a reception by the New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission on Thursday afternoon.
Proclaiming Puerto Rico has a “bright future” as it bounces back from hurricanes and financial difficulties, Pierluisi told the reception, in Spanish and English, the best way to help Puerto Rico was to visit the island and establishing a robust trade between the two. From 2009-17, Pierluisi represented Puerto Rico in Congress as its resident commissioner.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Pierluisi, flanked by NJ Puerto Rico Commission co-chair Peggy Anastos and commission member Bert Lopez, who is also president of the Hispanic Association of Atlantic County. “A bright future is ahead for Puerto Rico.”
Pierluisi received a welcome from Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and the reception was attended by city council officers Aaron “Sporty” Randolph and Kaleem Shabazz, Atlantic County Commissioner Andrew Parker III and his wife Neysha, a native of Puerto Rico.
Stockton University’s Jessica Grullon and City of Atlantic City Multicultural Services offical Raul Aranga, both members of HAAC, were also present.
An attorney by trade, Pierluisi has been governor since 2021 after serving as the U.S. territory’s secretary of justice and secretary of state. He acted as a private attorney for Puerto Rico’s fiscal oversight board under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economy Stability Act. Pierluisi said Puerto Rico has operated under balanced budgets for the past two years and will need to do it for two more fiscal cycles to emerge from U.S. government oversight.
Pierluisi was in town as part of the National Governor’s Association Conference that was held next door at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. First lady Dr. Jill Biden was one of the keynote speakers along with Vice President Kamala Harris.
South Jersey has a robust Puerto Rican community, spread across the seven counties that make up the region, which Pierluisi likely felt given his enthusiastic reception from the event’s attendees.
The purpose of the New Jersey-Puerto Rico Commission is to:
- Advance bilateral trade and investment
- Initiate joint action on policy issues of mutual interest to New Jersey and Puerto Rico
- Promote business and academic exchanges between New Jersey and Puerto Rico
- Support Puerto Rico in its efforts to stabilize its economy
- Encourage New Jersey companies to invest in Puerto Rico’s infrastructure
- Address such other issues as determined by the commission pursuant to its purposes.
Members of the New Jersey Puerto Rico Commission include:
- Co-Chair: Peggy Anastos
- Co-Chair: Jose Lozano
- Senator Nellie Pou
- Senator Declan O Scalon
- Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez
- Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz
- Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr
- Arianna Moure, Esq.
- Adalberto Lopez
- Carlos A. Medina, Esq.
- John Sanchez
- Carmen Gandulla
- Carmen M. Garcia, Esq.
- Councilman Daniel Rivera
- Eddie Gonzalez
- Undersheriff Humberto Cuadrado
- Ivette Mendez
- Javier Robles
- John A. Santana
- Kim V. Ruiz
- Lydia J. Valencia
- Councilman Luis A. Quintana
- Dr. Tanya Pagan Raggio
- Gualberto Medina
- Rev. Dr. Joshua Rodriguez
- Rosemarie Moyeno Matos, Esq.
- Samuel Kanig
- Tonio Burgos
- Marie J. Quinones-Wilson
- Will Borke
- Francisco Maldonado-Ramirez, Esq.
- Ray Ocasio
- Lino Santiago
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