Carmen Yulín Cruz with Raúl Grijalva. (GFR Media)

Popular Democratic Party (PPD) gubernatorial candidate Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto celebrated the support of Democratic Representative Raúl Grijalva in her primary race and, eventually, general elections.

Grijalva chairs the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, the congressional body with jurisdiction over the island’s affairs.

Cruz Soto, also mayor of San Juan, revealed the contents of Grijalva’s letter of endorsement, which says he knows of the candidate’s commitment to “equity and justice” and that this is precisely what the island needs during these unprecedented moments of “economic, fiscal, and reconstruction challenges.”

In the letter, Grijalva said Cruz Soto earned his trust and respect and that of his colleagues in Congress, that she has “educated” federal lawmakers on the impact of the Oversight Board’s decisions, and that she has been a “fierce” advocate for pensions, education, and health.

Grijalva, a congressman representing Arizona and who has tried to amend PROMESA, wrote in his letter that he is confident Cruz Soto will be able to prioritize these issues as governor. He has also held public hearings on different issues related to Puerto Rico.

Grijalva also highlights Cruz Soto’s work defending Puerto Rico during the reconstruction process after Hurricanes Irma and María and describes her as a “visionary” and a “pragmatic” figure capable of achieving consensus.

Cruz Soto said in an interview with El Nuevo Día that Grijalva values that she is a figure that Congress members have already worked with.

“That endorsement comes from the person who chairs the Committee that makes decisions about Puerto Rico, what that says is that Grijalva sees in me a person he can work with,” Cruz Soto said.

In the letter, Grijalva concludes that he and his colleagues along with Cruz Soto can face Puerto Rico’s most important challenges, “including (reaching) a dignified relationship with the United States.”

“He is not speaking of the political formula in which I believe,” said Cruz Soto, defining herself as pro-sovereignty. “More important than the formula in which I believe ... is that when I go to Washington, I talk about the Constitutional Assembly on Status and for him to say, when the committee had a bill by Jenniffer González for Congress to express in favor of the admission of Puerto Rico (as a state), to say that with me as governor he can handle the economic development agenda, defend pensions and health care... That seems very important to me,” the PPD candidate said.

“That mechanism can also be used to build a dignified relationship with the United States,” she added about the Constitutional Assembly on Status.