Rochester, N.Y. - Could the United States get a 51st state? In a vote taken on Election Day, the majority of voters in Puerto Rico favored statehood - and it’s now the talk of the Puerto Rican community in Rochester. More then 36,000 people are of Puerto Rican descent in Monroe County, and their feelings on the status of Puerto Rico’s future are mixed.
“For me I don't want it, no,” said Aida Vuidos, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, but moved to Rochester 30 years ago.
“I feel it should become a state,” said Cruz Rodirguez, who just moved to Rochester from Puerto Rico three years ago.
“I like for Puerto Rico to be one of the states of this country,” said Celedonio Torres, “because I am proud to be American.”
On the ballot they had a two part question. The first part asked if they favored the current status as a U.S. commonwealth, 54% of voters said “no.”
The second part asked voters to choose one of three options, 61% of voters chose statehood; 33% chose a sovereign free association; and 6% chose independence. Over 500,000 voters left this part blank.
The results will be sent to Congress.
“I think the issues to Puerto Rico belong to the people who are on the island,” said Carlos Martinez Alvarez, a first generation Puerto Rican, “or for example the people that are maybe up here temporarily.”
There are nearly 4-million residents of Puerto Rico. They were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917, but can't vote for president.