Viviana Janer, the commissioner who opened Biden’s campaign event in Kissimmee, Florida, said the Democratic presidential candidate is aware that Puerto Rico has not recovered from Hurricane María.
KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA—Viviana Janer, Osceola County Commission chairperson, opened a Joe Biden campaign event on Tuesday at Osceola Heritage Park in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Puerto Rican is the first Hispanic woman elected to the county commission. For Janer, it means a lot that Biden presented a plan for Puerto Rico a few hours before the event went underway.
“As a Boricua, I feel very proud that Vice President Biden has a plan for Puerto Rico as part of his platform. This is necessary. He knows the island has not finished recovering after Hurricane María because of the current president’s ineptitude,” Janer told The Americano.
Janer, who was born in Río Piedras and grew up in New York, said that some think the respect Biden has for Puerto Ricans is not so important, compared to other issues. For her, this respect is closely linked to a better future for the communities both in the United States and on the island.
“Respect is so important. We have to keep in mind we have a president who has called the island dirty, who has despised us, who has said the people of Puerto Rico are poor, who tried to exchange us for Greenland. Respect and having a plan for us are so important for Puerto Ricans living here and on the island,” said the commissioner, who is also the chairperson of the Board of County Commissioners.
Janer added President Donald Trump has had three years to provide an adequate response to Hurricane María and still does not have a plan for the island.
“He has done nothing for us, nothing. It has been a lack of respect,” she said.
Janer said Biden’s Kissimmee event took place with a strong security and Secret Service presence because of his prominence as a political figure and the required COVID-19 safety measures. Attendees were required to wear masks and have their temperature taken twice.
“Even the celebrities—Ricky Martin, Eva Longoria, and Luis Fonsi—wore a mask all the time,” the commissioner said.
Janer is also pleased that with his visit, Biden recognized Florida’s importance in the elections. The population of Osceola County is 55% Hispanic, mostly Puerto Rican.
“I am very happy he decided to come to Osceola County and kick off Hispanic Heritage Month. He recognizes that Hispanics in Central Florida are a very important part of the vote for our state,” said the commissioner.
Janer urged Latino communities—especially the Puerto Rican community—to vote because of the effect this will have on the island.
“In Florida, we are more than 1 million Puerto Ricans, so please, please, help our family and fellow citizens on the island. Please know who you vote for, and help our brothers and sisters on the island,” Janer said.