SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Bill Clinton told Puerto Ricans on Sunday his wife will boost employment for island residents if elected president, as well as ensuring them the same access to affordable health care as people who live on the mainland.
The former president is spending two days here on behalf of his wife ahead of the June 1 Democratic primary in which Puerto Rico could have a rare opportunity to have a say in national politics,
"It is a good thing that your voice will be heard all across the United States," he said.
Puerto Ricans have no voting representation in Congress and cannot vote in the presidential election, but the island's 63 delegates to the Democratic convention could help determine whether the nomination goes to Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama.
Only three remaining states - Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana - have more Democratic delegates up for grabs.
There has been little indication of whether Obama or Clinton will fare better in Puerto Rico, where local politics largely revolve around the island's relationship to the U.S. mainland. But with the national spotlight on Puerto Rico, the local Democratic Party changed the contest from a caucus to a primary to encourage more people to participate.
In a speech at the island's largest public housing complex, Bill Clinton promised that Sen. Clinton would help Puerto Rico overcome a limping economy and unemployment that is roughly double the U.S. rate of 5.1 percent.
"She will bring work to the people of Puerto Rico," Clinton told a cheering crowd of several hundred.
He also promised his wife would work to ensure the same health care access for Puerto Ricans as other U.S. citizens.