Candidates break from the campaign trail to aid Puerto Rico
Local candidates for state and federal offices returned Sunday night from a joint trip to the battered territory of Puerto Rico.
Six shore town residents flew to the U.S. territory to aid in the recovery efforts from this year’s hurricane season.
2017 New Jersey State Assembly District 30 candidate, Eliot Arlo Colon, and 2018 Congressional candidate, Jim Keady, announced last week they would be traveling together on a joint mission to the Caribbean to participate in cleanup and recovery.
Puerto Rico has been severely damaged in recent weeks by hurricane’s Irma and Maria, which have left nearly all of the 3.4 million residents of the U.S. territory without power. About half of the residents also do not have running water.
Mr. Colon, Mr. Keady, and other shore residents traveled to the U.S. territory to supply residents with generators, meet with local officials, and aid in cleanup.
“It was the oddest and saddest 3 days in my recent memory and possibly my life,” said Mr. Colon. “You have this once beautiful island, literally destroyed. 24 days after the hurricane and there is still no running water for most households. No electricity without a constantly running generator. No jobs. The local economy is at a complete halt. No one has cash for those basic necessities because of the long lines — with heavily armed police or military closely watching — for ATM withdrawal of cash.”
Puerto Rican himself, Mr. Colon had been vocal about aiding the territory on social media and in his campaign since the hurricanes.
“We stopped at a church to offer the supplies to whoever we could find there and we’re greeted by a Minister,” said Mr. Colon. “He was shocked that we came from New Jersey with our own supplies to deliver them to people in need. He said, ‘God bless you and your families and those who encourage you to do these things.’ It was so profound.”
Mr. Colon also explained that he met with Eduardo Cintron, the Mayor of Guayama (town located in southern Puerto Rico) who was helping load pallets of food onto relief pickup trucks “with a sense of urgency that you never see in elected officials ever.”
“I asked him, ‘How is everything with the families, children and older people in town?’ He stopped rushing around for a moment, looked at me, and just said, ‘Terrible,’” said Mr. Colon.
In a press release from his campaign, Mr. Keady was quoted saying, “It is my hope that my experience standing with Sandy survivors and other crises, coupled with Eliot’s extensive personal network within Puerto Rico, can bring a small amount of relief to the families whose lives have been forever changed by Hurricane Maria, and raise awareness for New Jerseyans and all Americans that we need to do whatever we can to step up our response to this crisis – now.”
“A full week after Hurricane Maria left millions without power, the response has been too slow for mine and Mr. Keady’s liking. As we continue to hope to see a strong response from our leaders, Mr. Keady and I will take this effort into our own hands and do whatever work we can to help,” said Mr. Colon.
The Candidates, back only one day, are already discussing plans to return to Puerto Rico to continue the support.
For more information on Mr. Colon and his candidacy, visit www.eliotcolon.com or on Facebook, Eliot Arlo Colon for NJ Assembly.
The general election for NJ Assembly is on November 7, 2017 in which Colon is battling against incumbents, Sean T. Kean and party installed incumbent, Ned Thomson, who was named David Rible’s replacement as Assemblymen after his resignation to serve as the Director of the NJ ABC in June 2017.
About Assembly Candidate Eliot Arlo Colon: Assembly Candidate Colon is the President of the Brielle Board of Education, having served six years on the board of education. Colon is also the Chairman of the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan, NJ and Partner/Co-Owner of Miro Consulting, Inc. based in Woodbridge, NJ which was previously named NJBIZ Fastest Growing Company. Colon was named NJBIZ Executive of the Year finalist and Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists four years in a row.
Assembly Candidate Colon, born August 19, 1969, grew up in Edison, N.J. He resides in Brielle Township with his wife Lorene, and two teenage sons.