Can­di­dates tak­ing up Puerto Rico amid pol­i­tics

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Bianca Padró Oca­sio Staff Writer

Puerto Ri­can pol­i­tics and Florida pol­i­tics are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked this year, as midterm con­gres­sional can­di­dates tar­get the Puerto Ri­can com­mu­nity, which has seen a sharp in­crease in Cen­tral Florida fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Maria’s dev­as­ta­tion of the is­land.

Af­ter months of mak­ing heav­ily pub­li­cized trips — in some cases, a hand­ful of trips — to the is­land and Cen­tral Florida, can­di­dates on the state bal­lot this Novem­ber have started to take solid po­si­tions on the con­tro­ver­sial ques­tion of sta­tus for the is­land, show­cased their ef­forts to help Puerto Rico re­cover, and se­cured en­dorse­ments from both for­mer and cur­rent Puerto Ri­can of­fi­cials.

“Puerto Rico is our back­yard. … Once you live in Or­lando and you’re Puerto Ri­can, you have that back and forth con­nec­tion,” said Adela López, di­rec­tor of the non­par­ti­san ad­vo­cacy group Misión Boricua. “Even though you’re away, you still have a

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