Dr. Carson argued that Puerto Ricans had been part of America too long without statehood. “When you stop and think about it Puerto Ricans have been Americans for a century or more already. You’ve already paid your dues.”
Carson spoke at a rally for gubernatorial candidate, Ricky Rosselló. Rosselló is a member of the pro-statehood New Progressives. Members of the New Progressives, one of two major parties in Puerto Rico, belong to both the Democratic and Republican Party. The members are united on the statehood front.
Carson also argued that Puerto Rico’s entry as a state would help it with its debt problem. Puerto Rico faces nearly $72 billion in debt and has been struggling to pay it off. The commonwealth has said that it may default or end some government services in order to deal with the problem.
Puerto Rico has also faced an economic downturn for the previous few years. This has in turn caused people to leave the island to seek work. These two problems have caused the government to grapple with declining income and increasing welfare costs.
Carson’s fellow Republicans, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, have both endorsed statehood.
President Obama has said he supports the will of the people to self-determine their future.
Puerto Rico can vote in the primaries, but not in the general election.