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Federico Fabian Peña


In office
January 21, 1993 – February 14, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Andrew Card
Succeeded by Rodney E. Slater

In office
March 12, 1997 – June 30, 1998
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Hazel R. O'Leary
Succeeded by Bill Richardson

Born March 15, 1947 (1947-03-15) (age 62)
Laredo, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Cindy Velasquez (previously married to Ellen Hart Pena)
Children Nelia Pena
Cristina Pena
Ryan Pena
Alma mater University of Texas-Austin

Federico Fabian Peña (born March 15, 1947) was United States Secretary of Transportation from 1993 to 1997 and United States Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 1998, during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

Born in Laredo, Texas, Peña earned a B.A. (1969) and a J.D. (1972) from the University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas School of Law, respectively. Moving to Colorado, where he became a practicing attorney, Peña was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1979, where he rose to become Minority Leader. In 1983, Peña defeated a 14-year incumbent, William H. McNichols, Jr. to become the first Hispanic Mayor of Denver, a post to which he was re-elected in 1987.

Peña advised Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton on transportation issues during Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign, and Clinton chose Peña to head the United States Department of Transportation. Although he had intended to leave Clinton's cabinet after a single term, Peña also served as Secretary of Energy for one year, from 1997 to 1998[1]. In 1995 the Justice Department conducted a preliminary investigation into a California transit agency's awarding of a pension management contract to Peña's former investment management firm. However, Peña had severed all ties to his former company both prior to the contract and prior to becoming Transportation Secretary. On March 17, 1995 Janet Reno ended the investigation.[2]

Upon leaving the Clinton administration, Peña returned to Denver and joined investment firm Vestar Capital Partners in August 1998, as Senior Advisor. On January 18, 2000, Vestar announced that Peña had been promoted to one of the firm's Managing Directors.[3]

Peña Boulevard, a freeway in Denver and neighboring Aurora connecting Denver International Airport to Interstate 70, is named for him. As mayor of Denver, Peña led the effort to build the airport.

Peña is the father of three children: Nelia, Cristina, and Ryan Peña. The divorce of Federico Peña and his first wife, Ellen Hart Peña, became final on September 10, 2001. Federico Peña married Cindy Velasquez on September 2, 2006. Cindy Velasquez is a former broadcast executive for Channel 7, KMGH-TV, and Channel 9, KUSA-TV, in Denver, Colorado.

Peña is also known for the case Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U.S. 200 (1995), which overruled Metro Broadcasting v. FCC, 497 U.S. 547 (1990), and held that all cases dealing with racial classifications must be reviewed using "strict scrutiny."

On September 7, 2007, Peña announced that he would endorse Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and also serve as Obama's National Campaign Co-chair. The move was notable in that Peña did not endorse Senator Hillary Clinton, the wife of the president under whom he served. [4] On November 5, 2008, he was named to the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.[5]

References

  1. ^ Pena Resigns as Energy Secretary, Citing Concerns for Family, NY Times, April 7, 1998 [1]
  2. ^ Secretary of Transportation Will Not Face a Prosecutor, NY Times, March 17, 1995 [2]
  3. ^ http://www.vestarcapital.com/news/details.aspx?id=178
  4. ^ CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - Clinton cabinet member backs Obama « - Blogs from CNN.com
  5. ^ Sweet, Lynn Jarrett, Podesta, Rouse to lead Obama transition; Bill Daley co-chair Chicago Sun-Times, November 5, 2008
Political offices
Preceded by
William H. McNichols, Jr.
Mayor of Denver
1983–1991
Succeeded by
Wellington Webb
Preceded by
Andrew Card
United States Secretary of Transportation
1993–1997
Succeeded by
Rodney Slater
Preceded by
Hazel R. O'Leary
United States Secretary of Energy
1997–1998
Succeeded by
Bill Richardson
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