Puerto Rico’s new governor wants territory to become U.S. state

Pro-statehood supporters await the arrival of Puerto Rico's new governor at the seaside Capitol in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Ricardo Rossello was sworn in Monday as the U.S. territory prepares for what many believe will be new austerity measures and a renewed push for statehood to haul the island out of a deep economic crisis. (AP Photo/Danica Coto)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Puerto Rico’s new governor could lead the U.S. territory to becoming the 51st state, and some Valley residents welcome the idea.

Newly-elected Governor Ricardo Rossello was sworn in Monday.

He intends to ask voters if they prefer statehood or independence.

Rossello will also travel to Washington D.C., demanding passage of a bill calling for statehood for Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million citizens.

Locally, William Huffman thinks it’s a great idea.

“They have been a territory forever, so I mean, we don’t need a passport or anything to travel there,” he said. “I don’t see a problem with them becoming a state at all.”

Melanie Nelson said diversity is a good thing.

“We are the melting pot and welcome anybody, so why not?”

Even though Andrew Brubakaer supports statehood, he said there needs to be precautions.

“Just like anybody that comes into our country though, on the flip side, should be screened and make sure they are not any risk to the United States.”

Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898. People born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.