Pols talk of P.R., Tish seat on isle jaunt
The polls closed and the pols headed south.
New York City’s elected officials, consultants, lobbyists and politicos about town descended on San Juan Wednesday evening for the annual Somos El Futuro conference, the first held since Hurricane Maria hit the island.
Few were there for the panel discussions — the annual post-election event is typically an opportunity not just to foster the city’s relationship with Puerto Rico, but for political types to don some casual clothes and break down Tuesday’s wins and losses and what comes next.
“I think we understand that Somos gives us an opportunity to come together, the issues that we’re fighting for in New York, you know, the session is coming around the corner, we have a number of workshops all dedicated to our agenda, but we also want to not lose sight of the fact that we play a role as a diaspora for Puerto Rico,” Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (photo), chairman of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force that hosts the event.
That role includes helping the people of Puerto Rico to resolve their “status,” Crespo said. “Until the people of Puerto Rico really have the representation that comes with being American citizens, that’s our role is to be there for them and to mobilize and advocate and raise awareness about their needs, and we saw that never more than after Hurricane Maria,” he said.
Of course, there will be some partying — in his welcome remarks Crespo noted there would be old-school hip hop in the hotel’s nightclub Friday night — and tons of politicking.
This year’s conference comes with the added intrigue of a special election for public advocate — which essentially began weeks ago but has now kicked into high gear with Public Advocate Letitia James winning her election as state attorney general official Tuesday night.
The bar at the El San Juan was buzzing with talk about who the front-runners in the crowded election would be — with sources saying Councilman Jumaane Williams, who won’t be attending the conference, was already lining up support.
Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito — a native of Puerto Rico who will be at the confab — is also likely to run, a source close to her has told The News. Her predecessor, Christine Quinn, also eyes the seat.