By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state of Minnesota estimates there are 13,000 people of Puerto Rican heritage living here, and, for each of them, the catastrophe of Hurricane Maria is personal.

State Sen. Melisa Franzen (D-Edina) was born and raised in Puerto Rico and has been one of the many people here holding meetings and helping to coordinate and organize donations. Her personal Facebook is a call to action, linking to various aide efforts.

Also on her Facebook, she takes a swipe at President Donald Trump’s critique of the Mayor of San Juan, whom the president criticized for what he called “poor leadership.”

“I don’t think this is a time to be pointing fingers,” Franzen said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “It’s a time for all of us to take action. We do need the federal government’s help, so I don’t think the tweets are helpful.”

Franzen has also been working to get medical help for her 94-year-old grandmother, who is on oxygen and lives in a remote part of the island.

Only after an extraordinary effort, she managed to get a tank shipped through FedEx that should arrive Monday. Franzen says she wants all Americans to remember that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, too.

How You Can Help

If you want to help relief efforts in Puerto Rico, you can donate through and the St. Paul Foundation.


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