Puerto Rico is approaching a plebiscite on statehood, pursuant to congressional legislation which is under consideration. Pat at And So It Goes In Shreveport has a good post summing up the current politics of statehood for Puerto Rico.

One person to keep an eye on is the current Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño, who is active in the Republican Party (although technically he ran on the New Progressive Party).

Fortuño is someone to watch, as evidenced by his speech at Cornell in March, in which he set forth both his conservative philosophy and the politics of statehood in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately the embed code is not working, but you can view the speech here.

In the speech, Fortuño laid out his successes in cutting the budget in Puerto Rico, and his faith that only fiscal discipline can rescue the economy:

Fortuño also detailed economic reforms he has made to restore fiscal health and cut a budget deficit, and other challenges facing the commonwealth, in light of its territorial status and relationship with the United States.

“Since June of 2008, our priorities were to put our fiscal house in order … to spur private sector growth and lay the groundwork for economic growth,” the governor said, adding that he had “cut my own salary and that of all government employees, incentivized voluntary retirement, and cut staff and expenses.” He said that over the next three years, his programs will generate $7 billion in revenue and “tens of thousands of jobs.”

“The toughest times are the prelude to renewal,” Fortuño said.

Fortuño also expressed his unabashed patriotism:

“I see a bright star on the horizon,” he said. “I see a bright star in the constellation that is ‘Old Glory,” Fortuño said in a prepared speech.

Fortuño also appeared on The Right Angle show with Mark Finkelstein (who writes for Newsbusters), in which Fortuño addressed the issue of whether Puerto Rico automatically would vote Democratic. The interview is here.

I also was a guest on the show as we discussed not only Fortuño but also financial reform and health care. The full show, with my brilliant commentary, is here (takes time to load; btw, it’s true, the camera adds 10 lbs.).

Luis Fortuño is a rising conservative star. And he is from Puerto Rico.

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