The Latino Chamber of Commerce, the office of Mayor Paul Soglin and members of the Puerto Rico Relief Fund of South Central Wisconsin will host a welcoming reception for Toa Baja Mayor Bernardo Marquez Garcia tonight in downtown Madison at Industrious, 25 W. Main Street.
“We are honored to be a part of the Puerto Rico exchange providing an opportunity to establish a partnership with Toa Baja Mayor and his staff to help the redevelopment of their city,” Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes tells Madison365. “Mayor Marquez has similar values and vision as Mayor Soglin. We look forward to showing our great city to the Toa Baja mayor as we visit our city’s facilities, community centers, and parks. We will finish our day with the Latino Chamber of Commerce where they and Puerto Rico Relief Fund of South Central Wisconsin will be hosting a reception with Puerto Rican leaders in our community this evening.”
Mayor Marquez Garcia and his Community Outreach Director Edgar Gomez will take part in a host of activities today to connect them with city stakeholders and will meet Madison leaders to discuss economic development for the island. They will tour a number of area facilities including Madison/Dane County Public Health, a local business utilizing solar panels, food carts on the Library Mall, Centro Hispano of Dane County, the community garden at Brittingham Park and the Bayview Community Center.
After the devastation from Hurricane Maria last fall, a powerful tropical cyclone that is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Puerto Rico, Madison has been assisting in Toa Baja’s recovery through a “Mayor Exchange” created by the Open Society Foundations, which connects mayors to the mainland.
Earlier this spring, Soglin and Reyes traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with officials of the Puerto Rican community of Toa Baja including Mayor Márquez Garcia. Mayor Soglin joined other mayors nationwide to help consult and guide leaders in Puerto Rico who are still reeling from the devastation from Hurricane Maria from seven months ago.
“We always feel like we are in a safe spot here in Wisconsin but you never know what can happen with natural disasters – it could be us in the future,” Latino Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Cavazos tells Madison365. “The investment in other communities is really important, especially in a moment of need from what has transpired in Puerto Rico. So the Chamber is really excited to partner with these other organizations to meet and greet and celebrate with the mayor of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, today and tonight.”
Toa Baja is a municipality of Puerto Rico located on the northern coast, north of Toa Alta and Bayamón. Toa Baja is spread over 5 wards, including Toa Baja Pueblo. Mayor Márquez is a former business owner and college professor at the University of Puerto Rico.
Mayor Marques will also be meeting with officials from Centro Hispano and the Latino Chamber of Commerce at Centro Hispano today. The press conference starts at 3 p.m. The reception tonight at Industrious will start at 7 p.m.