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Ben Carson Calls for Puerto Rican Statehood at Island Rally

Ben Carson held a rally in Puerto Rico today, where he endorsed calls for the island to become America’s 51st state.

Carson’s appearance came during an event for Ricky Rosselló, who is running for governor as part of Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party. Carson praised Puerto Rico for its strategic location and patriotism for America, and said that the U.S. territory has “paid its dues” for becoming a fully-recognized state.

“Mis hermanos Americanos, my campaign is built around the premise of ‘We the People,’ and through such lens, I view the statehood question in Puerto Rico as settled,” Carson said, as reported by CNN. “In a Carson administration, I will leave no stone unturned in my efforts to secure this important step in Puerto Rico’s history, establishing Estado 51.”

Puerto Rican citizens are currently able to participate in primary elections, but not in general elections.

Rosselló is challenging Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla of the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party, who faces low ratings amongst both sides, and is currently dealing with the island’s $72 billion-dollar debt. Carson stated that the economic problems were the result of an “un-level playing field” and that upon joining the union, they would see a financial bounce-back comparable to those seen when Hawaii and Alaska joined.

“We need unity. We need to be working together and not against each other,” Carson said.

You can watch Carson’s endorsement in the video above, via NBC.

[h/t Reuters]
[Image via screengrab]

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