Somos Winter Conference, the annual get-together of state lawmakers in Puerto Rico, has been canceled, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz announced this evening.

Ortiz, the chairman of the Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican And Hispanic Task Force, said the “devastating effects” of the storm, paired with ongoing recovery, made it more important for state lawmakers to stay in their districts.

The conference, due to start later this week in San Juan, usually gathers the powerful Latino voting bloc, along with statewide officials to network.

The confab was actually still on as early as this morning, but several lawmakers annonuced throughout the day that they would likely not attend the event.

The appearance of lawmakers sitting on a beach while the city and its environs remained devastated likely wouldn’t have looked good, either.

Ortiz’s statement:

Given the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy and the ongoing storm recovery efforts, the 2012 Somos Winter Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico that was scheduled for November 7 – 11 has been canceled.
My colleagues and I believe it is imperative that we continue to work on getting all of our constituents the assistance they need to fully recover as quickly as possible.
The New York State Assembly and Senate Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force is committed to rebuilding our coastal communities and other areas of the state hit hard by the unprecedented destruction of Hurricane Sandy.
The Task Force will be scheduling a conference in New York City next month to address the devastation brought to our communities.