NewsNational NewsScripps News


Vice President Kamala Harris talks hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico

Vice President Harris and administration officials discussed rebuilding, recovery and investment to meet Puerto Rico's energy needs.
Vice President Kamala Harris talks hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 22, 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Puerto Rico on Friday to discuss its ongoing recovery from back-to-back major hurricanes that affected the island in 2017.

This is Harris’ first visit to the island as vice president. She visited once following the hurricanes while she was a U.S. senator.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman went with Harris on the visit.

Harris visited a residential home in Canóvanas which was rebuilt after its destruction by Hurricane Maria. There, she discussed $140 billion in administration investment in the island to rebuild and upgrade homes and technology.

This includes new solar panel technology meant to better resist hurricane forces and deliver more consistent energy for users.

An allocation of $3 billion has gone specifically to fund this more resilient energy mix, including rooftop-mounted solar panels and high-capacity generators.

“(This) is about an upgrade on quality of life and just the well-being and dignity of each family to be able to satisfy their basic needs," Harris said of the effort.

HUD Deputy Secretary Todman said since Maria, more than 6,000 homes have been repaired and more than 3,500 new ones have been built.

Energy Secretary Granholm discussed plans to expand renewable power generation, saying this upcoming summer would be the “summer of solar.”

SEE MORE: Texas led the US in new solar power installation in 2023

Harris then visited Goyco Community Center in San Juan to hear performances by local artists and meet with community organizers.

Demonstrators protesting the U.S. and Israel held signs outside, one of them calling the countries “genocidal.” Some present chanted “Yankee go home,” while others chanted “U.S.A.!”

At a later campaign event, Harris discussed Puerto Rico’s recovery from the storms, the administration’s infrastructure investments and work to lower insulin costs.

Regarding the 2024 presidential election, Harris said “What we are looking at is fundamentally an election that’s going to require us each to answer a question: 'What kind of country and world do we want to live in?'" she said.

Residents of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States and vote in presidential primary contests, but they do not vote in the general presidential election.

Trending stories at