MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ahead of the president’s visit to Puerto Rico, Minnesota lawmakers are asking him, Congress and the public for more help for the millions of people without power, water or food on the island.

“The situation is dire for many of our fellow Americans. The response and timing of the response is absolutely critical,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who is running for governor.

Walz and Rep. Keith Ellison joined Minnesota lawmakers and others calling for more aid for the people of Puerto Rico.

“As we speak, there are communities in the hills that have been physically isolated since the hurricane. No aid has gotten there since the hurricane,” State Rep. Carlos Mariani said.

Mariani and State Sen. Melisa Franzen are the only Puerto Ricans serving in the Minnesota legislature. They are demanding the federal and state governments do more to help fellow Americans in their time of need.

“There are a lot of good things that are happening on the ground, but we need to step up even bigger, and that’s going to require a larger response from the federal government, and its going to require a big aid package from Congress and the White House,” Mariani said.

The gathering of lawmakers is just one of several being held across the country. All are asking President Trump to act immediately.

“An aid package must move, it must move immediately and barriers to the flow of that aid must be removed as quickly as possible,” Walz said.

Walz praised Minnesota National Guard members on the ground helping residents pick up the pieces. All say more aid is needed in order for millions of people to survive.

“We’re in for a  long fight — I think we are up to it,” Ellison said. “Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico need our help, and we’re here to lend it.”

There are whole parts of the Island where relief groups haven’t been able to get through yet.

We have information on how you can help at WCCO.com/links.


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