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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Rep. Gutiérrez Returns to Puerto Rico Wednesday

October 17, 2017
Press Release
“It has been four weeks and some people still don’t have reliable access to water, medicine, or food and I want to see why and what Congress can do.”

Washington, DC – This morning at a press conference in Chicago, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) told reporters he was going back to Puerto Rico on Wednesday (10/18) to see for himself what progress is being made in getting relief to the people of Puerto Rico.  The Congressman will visit Comerio (in the central highlands) on Thursday and Loiza Aldea (on the northeast coast) on Friday, returning to Chicago on Saturday (10/21).  He is flying commercial and some news media from Chicago are planning to accompany him.

“It has been four weeks and some people still don’t have reliable access to water, medicine, or food and I want to see why and what Congress can do,” said Rep. Gutiérrez.  “The President and the far-right are saying that Puerto Ricans are to blame for their own misery after this once-in-a-lifetime disaster, and that is not what I saw when I was there two weeks ago and not what I am hearing from people on the island.  My fear is that the public health crisis is escalating and that we have not made evacuation an option for sick, elderly or vulnerable people who want to leave and do not have the means to buy a plane ticket.”

The press conference today was organized by the Puerto Rican Agenda, a Chicago non-profit that has been around for more than 20 years and which has raised nearly 180,000 in this most recent effort of Chicagoans helping Puerto Ricans.  Coordinating with the Mayor of Chicago, Chicago businesses, and led by the Puerto Rican Diaspora community in and around Chicago, Rep. Gutiérrez is making his second trip to Puerto Rico with supplies purchased by the people of Chicago.  He previously brought more than $50,000 worth of supplies flown to the island by United Airlines and distributed via a FEMA helicopter to the municipalities of Comerio and Dorado.  Further flights with supplies organized by the Puerto Rican Agenda and other Chicagoans will continue and distribution of materials to their proper recipients is being documented on the ground to counter the narrative that supplies are not reaching their intended destinations because of misconduct by Puerto Ricans.

Today’s press conference was fed to Facebook Live by Fox 32 (WFLD-TV) in Chicago and can be viewed on the Congressman’s Facebook page here:

The Congressman is booked on American Flight 395, ORD-SJU, October 18, departing O’Hare at 8:25 am CT, arriving 2:07 pm AT.  He is scheduled to return on American Flight 1329, SJU-ORD, October 21, departing 2:58 AT, arriving 7:15 pm CT.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.  He was born in Chicago, but has lived in Puerto Rico at various points in his life.

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