In Florida, a battleground, Puerto Ricans escape Mary’s destruction reshape electoral landscape

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Like the Puerto Ricans, the redesign of Florida’s voting landscape

Hurricane Maria is changing the electoral landscape in Florida’s critical I-4 corridor with an influx of displaced people, the Puerto Ricans, who can now register to vote. Some of the influential leaders of communities-rich, open, about the power of the Puerto Rican vote.

ORLANDO – Carmen ‘Millie’ Santiago came to Florida with her husband and two children in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has everything – the destruction of their home and the child-care center, where she worked, forcing the family to leave Puerto Rico and start from the beginning.

To sell “often, when people move to a new place, you have the option of a couch or a mattress, and some money, said,” Santiago. To do “the people who came here, after Mary do not have the option. We are all here and start from scratch.”

Santiago is just one of the approximately 200,000 Puerto Ricans fled the island for Florida after the storm of category 4, hit the territory of the United States last September.

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But as you begin the arduous work of rebuilding their lives in the Sunshine State, the influx of new residents has also commanded the attention of Florida’s elected officials and candidates. Taken together, these potential new voters represent a strong political force and their publisher was able to hold of a significant effect for this year’s elections and beyond.

About 56 000 Puerto Ricans, including Santiago and her family have area in Orlando, according to estimates by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York. Orlando is an important part of what is known as the I-4 corridor – which runs between St. Petersburg and Daytona Beach, and has fields to one of America’s most hotly contested political battle.

‘There is an active campaign, and the battle for the soul of the Puerto Rican voters.’

– Hector Cordero-Guzman, professor at Baruch College

According to Census Bureau data, the Puerto Ricans, 60 percent voted in the Democratic elections at the national level. But these voters could well be up to winning for both parties, the plans and promises for the island’s reconstruction and for those who fled this year, between elections, and perhaps in the year 2020 – such as Puerto Ricans pay close attention to the candidates that”.

Donald Davison, professor of political science at Rollins College, said it would be wrong, your voice on a monolithic Block for a party.

“I think it’s a simplification, is to be classified, to a Puerto Rican vote or Hispanic vote as a party, of the lock,” said Davison. “These are groups of voters, which has a great complexity and subtlety.”

In a sign of how the population of almost 14 000 people – three times as many as last year, we expanded in a short period of time, as expressed during the Puerto Rican parade in Central Florida in April.

More significant, community leaders, Fox News said that many registered there as a first-time-voters.

“People are engaged,’ Christian ‘ Lloyd Suarez says.

(Benjamin Nazario)

“People are engaged and involved, and you saw a lot of people, the registration of voters,” Christian Lloyd Suarez, the Puerto Rican parade organizer said.

During a litmus test for political candidates to advertise this important electorate, traditionally, was your position on statehood for Puerto Rico, the view of the US government, the controversial deal say the after-Maria-recovery-help is just as important nowadays, community members and leaders.

Some Puerto Ricans Trump management were not offered enough assistance to the island in the Wake of the devastating storm. The island has been allocated more than $ 15 billion in Federal aid earlier this year, although the Puerto Rico-have asked the leader for much more.

“The people are yet to observe and see who the support is for our community to vote in favor of the legislation, which will help our community,” community leader Zoé Colón told Fox News that the Puerto Ricans are as yet passive. “… We are a force to be reckoned with.”

Florida 2018 mid-term elections could be one of the most important in years. And candidates seeking all levels of public office were courting Puerto Ricans, which has a long history in the state.

Zoé Colón says, ‘We are a force to be reckoned with.’

(Benjamin Nazario)

The office of the Governor in this year’s open, while several congressional seats competitive, and Floridians vote 13 proposed amendments to the Constitution. Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the back in Puerto Rico the rule of law to sit, this is a challenge three-term democratic sen. Bill Nelson.

In the gubernatorial races, Fox News is hosting a Florida GOP primary debate on Thursday in Orlando, from 6:30-7:30 PM ET.

In the meantime, the Problem of the displaced Puerto Ricans flared up in a recent campaign debate in a Florida congressional race – when the Republicans John Ward, a business man running in Florida 6. District, came under fire for the testimony of those who moved to Florida to vote after hurricane Maria should not be allowed.

“I don’t think you should be allowed to register to vote,” he said to a reporter who says he does not “have a problem” with the Puerto Ricans come to the mainland of the United States, but says the focus should be on your return. He said the US should “the capital and the resources of Puerto Rico, which is where I think, frankly, that you belong to.”

One of his primary opponents, former state representative Fred Costello, posted a video of the comments on YouTube. State GOP Rep. Bob Cortes, a Costello supporter, is Puerto Rican, said Ward, “the choice of a candidate, as this is dangerous and a disservice, not only to the Puerto Rican Americans, he would would disenfranchise, but for all the freedom-loving Americans.”

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel on may 22, though, the municipality clarified his remarks and said he was referring to the temporary, and displaced Puerto Ricans.

“Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, and if they are going to be here permanently to live in Florida, of course, you can register and be welcomed in the community,” he said.

In spite of Ward’s comments, a lot of Puerto Ricans now think of Florida, their longtime home.

Hurricane Maria, causing more than an estimated 100 billion dollars in damage. The number of hurricane-related deaths remains controversial; many experts believe it is in the hundreds, if not thousands, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Hurricane Maria also caused the longest power outage in the history of the United States, so that the whole island of 3.3 million people without power, including homes for the elderly in hospitals and care, based on respiratory protection masks.

Millie Santiago, recalled to Fox News that she told her husband, in the retinue of Mary, that they “start in Florida out of nothing, because we lost everything in Puerto Rico.”

“It was in this moment when we said enrolled in FEMA,” she said.

Puerto Rican leaders argue that a difference between the Trump administration’s response to hurricane Maria, whose maximum sustained winds hit 155 miles per hour, and Hurricane Irma, which hit Florida 10 days earlier and had maximum winds of 132 miles per hour.

They note, for example, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated hit Transition protection assistance (TSA) program of the day Irma, but the Agency took more than a month, it is evacuated to the mainland for the hurricane Maria.

Jimmy Torres Vélez, says the Puerto Ricans in Florida, their new home, bearing in mind the impact of their participation in the elections can Rico Puerto.

(Benjamin Nazario)

Rev. of José Rodriguez of Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazareth, who during the affected of Irma has helped many of the Puerto Rican families displaced by Mary, who complained that the affected families had to struggle through Mary, to the FBI agents for hotel extensions.

“Why did Irma get extended, without a fight, but to fight the Puerto Rican families?” he asked.

The trump administration, though, has adamantly defended its response.

“We have unprecedented movement in relation to the Federal funds for the people in Puerto Rico and others who have been affected by the impact [by] these storms,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said last September. “We will do … everything we can to give the the Federal government support.”

Brendan Ramirez, CEO of Pan American Behavioral Health Services of Florida, said that political candidates are not dismissed, the Puerto Ricans, the concerns.

“You don’t have to look any further than the 2016 presidential elections, where the voters felt excluded and did something no one thought they would be able to do, and the reason that they did was precisely because they felt marginalised,” he said. “This is what you are going to see here in Central Florida with new and well-known Puerto Ricans.”

Puerto Rican long-rooted in Florida, first in the southern end of the state, and in later years, in the Central region. Their number in Central Florida dramatic crisis on the island has increased in recent years in response to the economy, prompting many professionals and wealthy Puerto-left Ricans.

Jimmy Torres Vélez, coordinator for Boricua Vota, said that Puerto Ricans in Florida your new home, mindful of the impact that their participation in elections on the mainland and in Puerto Rico.

“Here, we have a Chance and can vote,” Velez said, “and we need to make sure that people understand that by voting, they can help Puerto Rico.”

Fernando Rivera, a professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida, said that the connection between Puerto Ricans on the island and the mainland has become “stronger” since the storm. “The US Congress has a lot to say and to do, as to the future of the island,” he said.

Millie Santiago said there should be no question of the determination of the Puerto Ricans. “I can tell you that we are hard-working people. We are fighting on the streets, to come forward, and we are here for all of us, not only fight for our own skin, we stick together,” said Santiago. “I want to understand people. We are here to fight, not only for our fellow Puerto Ricans, but for all the Latinos here without housing.”

The latest data show that in 2015, about 769,000 Puerto Ricans in Florida were eligible to vote. Groups such as the Boricua Vota, Mi Familia Vota and UnidosUS make big pushes to register Hispanic voters in the state. Their leaders say that they expect to register, a total of 35,000 new Puerto Rican voters.

Christian Lloyd Suarez said lawmakers of both parties have the opportunity to make your case to Puerto Rican voters. “A lot of Puerto-to identify Ricans, as a Democrat or a Republican … so I think there is a real Chance for Puerto-Ricans, convinced,” Suarez said.

As Hector Cordero-Guzman, professor at Baruch College Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, said, “There is an active campaign, and the battle for the soul of the Puerto Rican voters.”

Emily DeCiccio is a video producer and writer for the Fox Digital templates. You can follow her on Twitter @EmilyDeCiccio

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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