Democratic Rep. Val Demings Calls for Rapid Rebuilding in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico - Demings - Soto

Image via Rep. Darren Soto Twitter.

By Mivette Vega

September 26, 2022

Demings, the Democratic candidate for Florida’s federal Senate seat, joined a congressional delegation to PR this weekend.

Florida Reps. Val Demmings and Darren Soto visited Puerto Rico over the weekend to see firsthand the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona a week ago.

Both representatives talked with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel to learn about the conditions of thousands of Puerto Ricans, many of whom still do not have electricity or water.

RELATED: Biden Issues a Major Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico, Allowing Federal Dollars to Flow In

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and the New York Mayor Eric Adams also were part of the congressional delegation that visited the island. 

First, Soto and Demings went with Gov. Pedro Pierluisi to Orocovis and Villalba, where mudslides affected some of the main roads in the area.

“They’re already starting repair work. There are 43 road closures due to severe flooding by #HurricaneFiona. We will ensure the roads can be built back more resiliently with minimal local cost sharing,” Soto wrote on Twitter about the visit.

Later they visited Barranquitas, in the central region of the island.

Demings demanded urgency from FEMA and other federal agencies to help in the recovery of the island, highlighting that Puerto Rico’s still recovering from Hurricane María, which caused severe damage five years ago.

 “I am also continuing to call for 100% cost sharing from FEMA to reduce the burden on Puerto Rico,” Demings wrote on Twitter.

The candidate for Florida senator recognized the strength of the people of Puerto Rico, but also acknowledged it deserves better.

“The people of Puerto Rico are strong and resilient, but resiliency is no substitute for assistance. I’m getting firsthand briefings from FEMA on the mission to restore water, power, and infrastructure,” Demings wrote on Twitter.

Before traveling to Puerto Rico, Soto visited the arrival area of the Orlando International Airport to offer help to Puerto Ricans arriving in Florida. 

RELATED: Biden Called Pierluisi to Reiterate Support for Puerto Rico After Fiona

As of Monday, only 59% of the island’s population has electricity and 84% has water.

Many hospitals, supermarkets, hotels, and telecommunication towers are about to close or have had to close due to the lack of diesel.


  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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