Puerto Rico Official: Pierluisi to Be Nominated as Secretary of State

Jul 31, 2019
6:44 AM

In this Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, D-P.R., testifies before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Puerto Rico’s current economic conditions and long-term fiscal health, in Washington. A Puerto Rico legislator said Tuesday, July 30, 2019, that the U.S. territory’s embattled governor plans to nominate Pierluisi as secretary of state. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

UPDATE, JULY 31, 8:52amET: Governor Ricardo Rosselló tweeted that he has nominated Pedro Pierluisi for Secretary of State.

By DÁNICA COTO, Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A Puerto Rico legislator said Tuesday that the U.S. territory’s embattled governor plans to nominate former congressional representative Pedro Pierluisi as secretary of state.

Rep. José Meléndez told The Associated Press that the president of the island’s House of Representatives shared the information with legislators and asked them to be ready to meet in a special session.

Pierluisi ran against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in the 2016 primaries of the New Progressive Party and lost. He served as Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress from 2009 to 2017.

If the House and Senate approved the nomination, Pierluisi would become Puerto Rico’s next governor after Rosselló resigns Friday as scheduled, following nearly two weeks of big street protests.

However, Meléndez and other members of Rosselló’s party have said they will not vote in favor of Pierluisi, in part because he works as for a law firm that represents the federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances.

“That’s a serious conflict of interest,” Meléndez said.

A special session to vote on Pierluisi is scheduled for Friday, just four hours before Rosselló is supposed to resign.

Pierluisi, who could not be immediately reached for comment, took a leave of absence starting Tuesday, according to his law firm’s website.

In a recent tweet, Pierluisi said the firm’s rules did not allow him to speak or grant interviews.

Puerto Rico “is living unprecedented moments, but I trust we will come out ahead,” he wrote. “My commitment to [Puerto Rico] and my people is firm as always.”