CHICAGO, Ill. (KWQC) - Governor Bruce Rauner is reaching out to officials in Puerto Rico, letting them know the state of Illinois stands ready to assist with recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact on the island. Right now, more than 550 Illinois National Guardsmen are on alert and ready to deploy, if needed.
“Our fellow Americans need us,” said Rauner. “I am ready to send our Guardsmen on a mission to make sure the people of Puerto Rico are safe and healthy as they find a way to rebuild after such a tragic blow. We are one people, united by our love for this country and our willingness to help each other in times of need.”
The Illinois National Guard has already been responding to requests for assistance as they have come in through the appropriate federal channels. To date, the Guard has delivered vital relief material to the U.S Virgin Islands and is in Puerto Rico assisting with strategic communication capabilities.
Rauner says the state is ready to do more. While he has the authority to activate the Illinois National Guard within the state’s borders, he cannot send them to other states or territories without an official request. Rauner sent a letter to Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico, today, letting him know the state of Illinois is eager to help and will mobilize troops immediately, if and when more boots are needed on the ground.
The Rauner administration also reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Association to see how it can be of more assistance on the home front.
Rauner and Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti partnered with State Representative Luis Arroyo and other leaders in the Puerto Rican community last week, including La Casa Puertorriqueña and the Puerto Rican Parade Committee, to film a video asking the people of Illinois to pitch in with recovery efforts. The video is available online at www.Ready.Illinois.gov/hurricanehelp.