Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez announces she's running in 2020

"I come from the bottom," said Vázquez, having ascended to the position following the scandal involving ex-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.
Image: Wanda Vazquez
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez speaks at a news conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 28, 2019.Gianfranco Gaglione / AP file

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By Sandra Lilley

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced Monday that she will run for election to a full term next year.

The announcement ends weeks of speculation about the political plans of Vázquez, who in August became the island's second unelected governor in seven decades following one of its most turbulent political periods.

"The people are tired of traditional politicians. I come from the bottom, for 32 years as a prosecutor, as a women's advocate and as secretary of justice," Vázquez said.

Vázquez became the U.S. territory's second female governor after one of the island's most significant shakeups — millions of Puerto Ricans marched in historic protests calling for the ouster of Ricardo Rosselló as governor after someone leaked hundreds of profanity-laced and derogatory private chat messages between him and administration officials and associates, including lobbyists.

Her candidacy sets off a primary contest with Pedro Pierluisi, the island's former nonvoting representative in Congress, who is running for the nomination of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party.

Vázquez said she recognizes that she doesn't have a campaign structure and that she will be the target of "unjustified attacks," adding that she will focus on socioeconomic development, health and women's rights.

She came into the governorship as the island struggled to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, as well as its ongoing debt crisis.

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