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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Of civics and U.S. territories…

At a debate in Post Falls this week between GOP congressional candidates Vaughn Ward and Raul Labrador, a Pachyderm Club audience member asked both candidates whether they supported statehood for Puerto Rico. Labrador, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, a United States territory,  responded that he didn't think now was the time. Ward said, "The problem with extending statehood to some, to any other country, is it then the infrastructure requirements. ... It is not time to grow the United States, not today, not tomorrow. I don't see a time when we would. We're 50 states, I want to stay at that. Let's focus on America first."

Labrador responded, "I just need to correct, Puerto Rico is not a country, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It's about time that we took some civics lesson and we learn what Puerto Rico is." To that, Ward responded, "I really don't care what it is, I mean it doesn't matter." To that, Labrador said, "Obviously you don't." You can watch the exchange on YouTube here.

It's generating quite a bit of buzz on the S-R's "Huckleberries Online" blog today, where an online poll found overwhelming numbers of readers think Ward's comments matter in the race. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States acquired in 1898; people born there are U.S. citizens, residents of the commonwealth vote in presidential primaries though not in the general election for president, and their head of state is the president of the United States. Other territories of the United States include the Midway Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.