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Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia (born April 26, 1959) is a Puerto Rican attorney, lobbyist, and politician who has been serving as the 14th Governor of Puerto Rico since January 2, 2021. He has previously served as Secretary of Justice (1993–1997), Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the United States House of Representatives (2009–2017), and as Acting Secretary of State. Pierluisi was positioned as ''de facto'' governor of Puerto Rico from August 2 to August 7, 2019, when the territory's Supreme Court ruled his assumption of office was unconstitutional.

Early life and education

Pierluisi was born on April 26, 1959 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His parents are Jorge Pierluisi Díaz and Doris Urrutia. He attended Colegio Marista of Guaynabo, graduating in 1977. In 1981, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Tulane University, and later earned a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School in 1984. He was President of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association chapter at Tulane University. Later, he was President of the George Washington University International Law Society from 1982–1983. During his studies at George Washington University, Pierluisi interned at the congressional office of then-Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Baltasar Corrada del Río.


Early political career


Pierluisi first practiced law as a private attorney in Washington, D.C. from 1984 until 1990. Notably, Mr. Pierluisi was one of the lead attorneys representing the government of Peru in its lawsuit against the Hunt brothers, Nelson Bunker, William Herbert, and Lamar for trying to corner the silver market in the late 1970s. The lawsuit resulted in a $180 million damages award for the plaintiff. He then practiced law in Puerto Rico from 1990 until 1993. In 1993, Governor Pedro Rossello nominated Pierluisi to serve as Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice. His nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Puerto Rican legislature.


U.S. House of Representatives


On May 18, 2007, Pierluisi announced his candidacy for Resident Commissioner, Puerto Rico's sole delegate to the United States Congress in the November 2008 elections. He accompanied then current Resident Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Luis Fortuño in the March 9, 2008 NPP primary ticket. According to the candidate reports filed before the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Pierluisi led the other NPP candidates by a ten-to-one margin in fundraising, having raised over $450,000 in 2007, while opponent Charlie Rodriguez had only raised $47,000 and Dr. Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer had not reported any fundraising. On March 9, 2008, Pierluisi won the primary with 61% of the vote against former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez, who polled 33%, and former Sen. Miriam Ramírez, who obtained 6% of the vote. On November 4, 2008, he won the post of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico with over 53% of the vote. He was sworn in on January 6, 2009 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He was the top vote-getter in the 2012 general elections, when he was reelected to a second four-year term and outpolled his running-mate, then Gov. Luis Fortuño as well as current Gov. Alejandro García Padilla. Pierluisi is a member of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico which advocates statehood for the Island territory. He beat his rivals by over one million votes - the largest margin of victory for a Resident Commissioner in Puerto Rico's history. While on Capitol Hill, Pierluisi caucused with the House Democratic Caucus.Newlin, Eliza
Res. Com. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR, At-Large) – The Almanac of American Politics
Nationaljournal.com. Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
As Resident Commissioner, Pierluisi introduced H.R. 2499, which sought to provide for a plebiscite to be held in Puerto Rico to determine the island's ultimate political status. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives but did not receive a vote in the Senate, and lapsed following the sine die adjournment of the 111th Congress. In a separate bill, H.R. 870, Pierluisi sought to add Puerto Rico to Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code so that the island's government-owned corporations could file for bankruptcy — a privilege they do not enjoy due to the territory's exclusion from the code. On May 15, 2013, Pierluisi filed H.R. 2000, a bill to admit Puerto Rico as a state.

Committee assignments

*Committee on Ethics *Committee on the Judiciary **Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security **Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement *Committee on Natural Resources **Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs

Caucus memberships

* Congressional Arts Caucus * Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Accusations of conflicts of interest and corruption allegations

Pierluisi was accused of ignoring corruption while he was Secretary of Justice because he had exonerated Senator Freddy Valentín Acevedo from accusations that Valentín had asked top officials at the Department of Natural Resources to wave the fees and fines of associates. Years later, unrelated corruption investigations resulted in Valentin's conviction. In April 2016, while legislation to deal with Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis was being discussed in the House of Representatives, ''The New York Times'' published an article covering possible conflicts of interest involving Pierluisi. The article covers various corporate clients from Pierluisi's wife personal firm who would benefit directly from bills proposed by Pierluisi, specifically those amending Chapter 9 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. These firms had recently invested in Puerto Rican bonds. In addition, the newspaper established that Pierluisi's wife founded the firm shortly after Pierluisi was sworn into Congress in 2009. In the 8 years since he was elected resident commissioner, Pierluisi's average net worth had increased 27-fold. Allegations have been made regarding Pierluisi's links with the shipping and transportation industry. A federal court ruled against three companies, which had made donations to his campaign, for conspiring to increase transportation fees. Requests for federal investigations on Pierluisi were founded partly on the allegation that his links with shipping companies impact maritime cabotage policy, leading to increased cost of living in Puerto Rico.


Rosselló succession


In late July 2019 the embattled governor, Ricardo Rosselló, nominated Pierluisi to serve as Secretary of State of Puerto Rico. He was additionally sworn into the role as a recess appointment. Rosselló then summoned Puerto Rico's Legislative Assembly for them to issue their advice and consent. The House of Representatives approved his nomination 26–21. However, the following day, members of the Puerto Rican Senate announced that action on his nomination would not occur until August 1. When Rosselló resigned on August 2, he declared Pierluisi to be governor although he had not been confirmed by both the House and the Senate as secretary of state, and Pierluisi affirmed Rosselló's declaration. Pierluisi's accession to the governorship was challenged in the courts as being unconstitutional. On August 5, the Puerto Rico Senate filed a lawsuit against his appointment as governor by contending that unless he obtained the Senate's assent, his governorship was unconstitutional. Two days later, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds and ordered him to be removed from office effective 5 p.m. AST on August 7.


2020 elections


On August 16, 2020, Pierluisi won the PNP gubernatorial primary race against governor Wanda Vázquez Garced. With 75.6% of voting stations reporting, Pierluisi has won about 57.9% of the votes over Vazquez’s 42.1%, clinching the nomination for New Progressive Party. On July 20, 2020, Pierluisi endorsed Joe Biden for the 2020 United States presidential election. On November 3, 2020, Pierluisi was elected as the Governor of Puerto Rico. He received approximately 32.9% of all the votes, distributed among 6 candidates that ran for office.


Inauguration


On Saturday, January 2, 2021, Pierluisi took the oath of office. At 8:00 a.m., there was a private ceremony in which he took the oath from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Maite Oronoz Rodríguez. This was followed by a controversial public ceremony on the northern side of the Capitol of Puerto Rico, where Pierluisi retook the oath of office publicly in front of 400 guests during the COVID-19 Pandemic and gave his inaugural address.

Personal life

Pierluisi revealed in 2019 that he was divorcing his wife, Maria Elena Carrión, who is the sister of controversial Financial Oversight Board president, José Carrión III. This would be his second divorce. After his first divorce, he met Maria Elena in a blind date set up by his younger sister. Pierluisi's father, Jorge Pierluisi, served as Secretary of Puerto Rico's Housing Department under Gov. Carlos Romero Barceló from 1977 to 1985. His brother, José Jaime Pierluisi, an economic adviser to then governor Pedro Rossello, was shot and killed during a carjacking in 1994.

See also

* List of Hispanic Americans in the United States Congress

Notes



References



External links

*
Congressman Pedro Pierluisi
''official U.S. House website''
Pedro Pierluisi for Congress
(Spanish) ''official campaign website'' * |- |- |- |- |- |- |- {{DEFAULTSORT:Pierluisi Urrutia, Pedro Rafael Category:1959 births Category:Democratic Party (Puerto Rico) politicians Category:Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives Category:Democratic Party state governors of the United States Category:George Washington University Law School alumni Category:Governors of Puerto Rico Category:Living people Category:New Progressive Party (Puerto Rico) politicians Category:Presidents of the New Progressive Party (Puerto Rico) Category:Puerto Rican lawyers Category:Puerto Rican Roman Catholics Category:Statehood movement in Puerto Rico Category:Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association alumni Category:Resident Commissioners of Puerto Rico Category:Secretaries of Justice of Puerto Rico Category:Secretaries of State of Puerto Rico Category:Tulane University alumni Category:21st-century Puerto Rican politicians Category:20th-century Puerto Rican politicians