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Luis G. Fortuño

Assumed office 
January 2, 2009
President George W. Bush
January 2-20, 2009
Barack Obama
January 20, 2009-present
Preceded by Aníbal Acevedo Vilá

In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Succeeded by Pedro Pierluisi

In office
Preceded by Kenneth McClintock
Succeeded by Oreste R. Ramos

Born October 31, 1960 (1960-10-31) (age 49)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Died 18/3/2010
Isabela Puerto RIco
Political party New Progressive Party
Republican Party
Spouse(s) Lucé Vela
Children María Luisa
Luis Roberto
Alma mater Georgetown University
University of Virginia School of Law
Profession Attorney, Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset (born October 31, 1960) is the ninth Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States.[1] Fortuño is also the president of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (NPP) and a member of the United States Republican Party.

In the 1990s, Fortuño served as Puerto Rico's first Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce, as the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and as the President of Puerto Rico's Hotel Development Corporation (HDC) during the administration of Governor Pedro Rosselló.

In 2003 Fortuño won the 2004 NPP nomination for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in primaries against former Governor Carlos Romero Barceló and former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez. He was then elected Resident Commissioner in 2004, defeating Senator Roberto Prats. Congressman Fortuño represented Puerto Rico from 2005 to 2008, and served as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference and as Ranking Member of the newly-created United States House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs.

Fortuño later won the 2008 NPP gubernatorial nomination by a wide margin after defeating former Governor and then-Senator Pedro Rosselló in primaries. He was then elected Governor by a wide margin during the 2008 elections, defeating incumbent Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.[citation needed]

Fortuño holds the distinction of being the first Republican to be elected Governor of Puerto Rico since 1969, and the second Republican governor since 1949.[2] He was also the second Republican Representative elected from Puerto Rico in the island territory’s history.[2]


Early life and family

Fortuño was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Luis Fortuño Moscoso, a dentist and Shirley Joyce Burset de Mari, a middle-class couple. He is the eldest of four brothers.[3] His maternal great grandfather José Burset Masferrer born 1876, Marín, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain emigrated to Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.[4][5] The surname Burset ultimately comes from Catalonia with his 3rd great-grandfather Ramón-Francisco Burcet-Romaní being born in Catalonia.[6][7]



Fortuño attended Colegio Marista (Marist College) in Guaynabo, graduating in 1978. He then earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (B.S.F.S.) degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In 1985, he received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. During this period, Fortuño was an intern at the Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C.[8]

While in college, Luis Fortuño co-founded the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association (PRSSA) with Kenneth McClintock and presided it from 1980 to 1981.[9] During the 1980 gubernatorial election recount, the more than 1,500 absentee ballots generated by PRSSA and Fortuño for incumbent Governor Carlos Romero Barceló were an important factor in Romero Barceló's reelection, which was by approximately 3000 votes.[10] Fortuño was also active in other pro-statehood youth organizations and in the Republican Party. He is married to attorney Luce Vela-Gutierrez; they have triplets, María Luisa, Luis Roberto and Guillermo (born 1991).

Public service

Fortuño entered public service in 1993 at the start of Governor Pedro Juan Rosselló González's administration. He was first appointed Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and President of Puerto Rico's Hotel Development Corporation (HDC). In 1994, he became Puerto Rico's first Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce.

Fortuño was tasked with the development and implementation of large-scale reforms of Puerto Rico's tax, labor, corporate and commercial codes, aimed at facilitating business growth and job creation, reducing bureaucracy, and tax reform. Fortuño succeeded in the adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code, the revamping of the General Corporations Law, an aggressive investment package to jumpstart the tourism industry, and the largest tax cut in Puerto Rico's history.[citation needed]

Fortuño was named 1996 Man of the Year by Caribbean Business, 1995 Public Servant of the Year by the Marketing Industry and Distribution of Food and Beverage Products Association of Puerto Rico, 1994 Public Servant of the Year by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, and 1994 Distinguished Executive by the Sales and Marketing Executives Association of Ponce and the Southern Region of Puerto Rico. He served on numerous boards of directors, including the Ana G. Méndez University System and the Puerto Rico Museum of Art. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the Urban Land Institute. In 1996, he served on the Platform Committee at the Republican National Convention, where he was successful in including the support for self-determination and eventual statehood for Puerto Rico in the party platform. Fortuño resigned his cabinet posts after Rosselló's reelection in 1996 and returned to private law practice.[citation needed]

Private practice

Following public service, Fortuño was a partner at the San Juan law firm, Correa, Collazo, Herrero, Jiménez & Fortuño, specializing in corporate finance and real estate law. Prior to joining Correa, Collazo, Herrero, Jiménez & Fortuño, he was a partner at McConnell Valdés. He was briefly mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico in 1999 for the New Progressive Party after Governor Rosselló announced he would not seek a third term in the 2000 election cycle.

Political career

2004 Campaign for Resident Commissioner

Fortuño decided to seek the New Progressive Party's nomination for the post of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico late in the primaries. He won the November 2003 primaries with 61.28% of votes and defeated former senator physician Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer (4.26% of votes), former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez (6.29% of votes), and former Governor and Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barceló (25.78% of votes). After winning the primary, he picked up momentum within the Republican Party ranks in the U.S. when he received the endorsement of Ed Gillespie, head of the Republican National Committee. Fortuño was the running mate of former Governor Rosselló, who returned for a third bid as the NPP's candidate for Governor.

In the elections of 2004, Fortuño was victorious (48.5% of votes) over his main rival candidate Roberto Prats (48% of votes) of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP). However, Fortuño's running mate, Rosselló, lost his bid for the governor's seat to then Resident Commissioner Aníbal Acevedo Vilá by less than 4,000 votes. This meant that Fortuño would be the Resident Commissioner under Governor Acevedo Vilá of the PDP. This is the first time in Puerto Rican history that the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Resident Commissioner are not from the same political party.[citation needed]

Resident Commissioner

Luis Fortuño meets with mayors from across the island of Puerto Rico in his congressional office (2006)

Upon the commencement of the 109th Congress, Fortuño was elected by his colleagues to serve as vice-president of the House Republican freshman class. He served as vice-chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference during the 109th Congress and as chair during the 110th Congress. Fortuño was Co-Chair of the Congressional Friends of Spain, part of the Hispanic Conference Caucus. House Resources Committee Ranking Member Don Young appointed him in January 2007 as the Republican minority's Ranking Member in the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs for the 110th Congress. Fortuño cosponsored the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007, which would give Puerto Ricans the option to become a US state or sovereign state. In October, 2007, Fortuño filed legislation, along with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to assure the continued operation of the Arecibo Radiotelescope.

Fortuño was re-elected by the Republican Party of Puerto Rico's General Assembly to continue serving as National Committeeman, a position he has held since 2001. He won reelection as National Committeeman in the GOP convention held on May 20, 2007 in Yauco, Puerto Rico.

In 2007, Fortuño joined Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) and 128 other co-sponsors in filing HR 900, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, to establish a self-determination process leading to political status change for Puerto Rico. The bill was amended and approved in a voice vote by the House's Committee on Resources on October 23, a major victory for Fortuño.

Gubernatorial campaign

A poll taken before Fortuño Burset announced his gubernatorial bid in February 2007 suggests he is the most well-liked public figure in the NPP. The poll, taken by Gaither International at the request of Caribbean Business newspaper, indicated that Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, Fortuño's likely opponent, would fare badly in the general election. Another poll released in May 2007 and taken by Kaagan Research Associates, Inc. at the request of El Nuevo Día, a major circulation newspaper, showed Fortuño with a 46% to 25% advantage over incumbent Governor Acevedo Vilá. On May 16, 2007 poll also showed Fortuño winning a primary election against Pedro Rosselló 49% to 37%.

On February 19, 2007, Fortuño announced his candidacy for Governor of Puerto Rico for the 2008 general election. He faced former 2004 running mate and former Gov. Pedro Juan Rosselló González in an NPP primary on March 9, 2008 which he won by a 60% to 40% margin.

On May 18, 2007 Fortuño announced that former Attorney General Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia would be his running mate and run for Fortuño's current office of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. Pierluisi Urrutia was a classmate at Colegio Marista, a fellow member of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association and also a fellow cabinet member of Fortuño's during former Governor Rosselló's first term from 1993 to 1996.[citation needed]

On March 9, 2008, Fortuño easily defeated Rosselló, sending the former Governor to the bleachers, and becoming the new president of the PNP and its official candidate for Governor.[1] Fortuño won the candidacy by obtaining nearly 60% of primary votes. Fortuño's running mate and now official candidate for Resident Commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi, also won his primary.[1]

On November 4, 2008, Fortuño became the ninth Governor elect of Puerto Rico by popular election winning by over 220,000 votes, the largest victory margin in 44 years and giving the New Progressive Party its largest victory in history. Also he became the second governor to get more than a million votes, after Pedro Rosselló's reelection in 1996.[11][citation needed] Accompanied with his victory, the party gained control of the legislature by historic margins and the majority of mayoralties, and with it the power to name 3 Supreme Court judges that for the first time in history would give NPP appointees a majority on the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. With this win the NPP also can name various long-term posts, including the Comptroller, the Ombudsman and the Director of the Government Ethics Office.

Gubernatorial inauguration

Governor Fortuño taking the oath of office from Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Hernández-Denton, January 2, 2009‎.

Gov. Fortuño was sworn into office on January 2, 2009, at a ceremony attended by five of the U.S. territory's six living governors, Fortuño, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, Sila María Calderón, Carlos Romero Barceló and Rafael Hernández Colón. Only former governor Rosselló, who did not publicly endorse him, failed to attend.[citation needed]

Following tradition, the event was initially led by the outgoing Secretary of State Fernando Bonilla and then by incoming Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock-Hernández. Among the thousands of attendees of the event were singer Marc Anthony and his wife, actress and singer Jennifer López, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Director Janet Creighton and the head of Intergovernmental Affairs for President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team, Nick Rathod. Foreign dignitaries included Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández and the president of Dominica, Nicholas Liverpool. Following his inaugural address, Fortuño walked from the Capitol to La Fortaleza. In the evening, a free concert in Old San Juan and a state dinner hosted by the new Secretary of State were held.

Emerging administration

Mr. Fortuño and the troops of the Puerto Rico National Guard depart to mission in Afganistan and Iraq.

Immediately after the November 4, 2008 general election, the Governor-Elect began the formation of an emerging administration. On November 7, as president of the New Progressive Party, he chaired the caucuses that selected Senator-elect Thomas Rivera Schatz as the new Senate President and Representative Jennifer González as the new House Speaker. On November 9, he announced the appointment of outgoing Senate President Kenneth McClintock as the head of the incoming administration's Transition Committee.[12]

On November 11, he began announcing the members of his Cabinet and other administration officials, which includes:[13]

  • Kenneth McClintock as Secretary of State[14][15]
  • Marcos Rodríguez-Ema as Chief of Staff
  • Guillermo Somoza as Attorney General
  • Juan Carlos Puig as Secretary of the Treasury
  • Lorenzo González, MD, as Secretary of Health
  • Odette Piñero, Ph.D. as Secretary of Education
  • Rubén Hernández-Gregorat as Secretary of Transportation and Public Works
  • Javier Rivera-Aquino as Secretary of Agriculture
  • José R. Pérez-Riera as Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce
  • Miguel Romero as Secretary of Labor
  • Carlos Molina as Secretary of Correction
  • Luis G. Rivera-Marín as Secretary of Consumer Affairs
  • Yaritza Irizarry as Secretary of Family Services (later withdrew)
  • Henry Neumann as Secretary of Sports and Recreation
  • Daniel I. Galán Kercadó as Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Yesef Cordero Lebrón as Secretary of Housing

Of these, Secretary of State McClintock, Attorney General Sagardía, Police Superintendent Figueroa Sancha and Corrections Secretary Molina were the first to have been confirmed and formally sworn in. On October 2, Chief of Staff Blanco was replaced by Marcos Rodríguez-Ema,[16] a former president of the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank.

Recent events

Economic crisis

In a televised speech on March 3, 2009, 60 days after having been sworn in, Governor Fortuño announced his Fiscal and Economic Recovery Plan which included reducing the government's annual expenditures by more than $2 billion at the start of the next fiscal year in July 2009. Media speculation estimated that a reduction of such magnitude would require permanently laying off over 30,000 government workers. On May 1, 2009, a mass of workers marched through the streets of San Juan in response to the governor's plan, protesting the government's apparent preparation for impending layoffs.

Since September 2009, Governor Fortuño's personal security detail has been tightened since an incident at a press conference where a protester threw an egg at him.[17]

On October 15, 2009, thousands of Puerto Rican workers and supporters gathered Thursday for a general strike over government budget cuts that have led to the elimination of nearly 17,000 jobs.[18] Puerto Rico's unemployment rate exceeds 15 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Fortuño administration expects the layoffs to propel that rate to 17.1 percent.[18]

Rumored potential nominee for U.S. president

Gov. Fortuño has been mentioned more than once as a long-shot potential nominee for President or Vice President in 2012.[19][20][21]

Obama names Fortuño to Council of Governors

President Barack Obama nominated Governor Fortuño to a bipartisan commission aimed at improving coordination of efforts between state and federal agencies to address matters of defense and national security. [22][23][24]

Ancestors of Luis Fortuño

Orders, awards and recognition


  1. ^ a b c Yaisha Vargas (2008-03-09). "Fortuno Wins Puerto Rico Primary". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  2. ^ a b Whittington, Lauren W. (2008-11-04). "Fortuño Elected Puerto Rico Governor". Roll Call. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  3. ^ Official website
  4. ^ Children of MARTÍN BURSET and MARÍA MASFERRER are: 3rd Generation
  5. ^ Great Grandfather: José Burset Masferrer
  6. ^ José Burset-Masferrer (b. 28 Nov 1876, d. 11 Dec 1951)
  7. ^ Descendants of Luis Guillermo Fortuño-Burset
  8. ^
  9. ^ [1] Luis Fortuno's PRSSA Profile
  10. ^ [2] PRSSA History
  11. ^
  12. ^ El Nuevo Día report #1
  13. ^ El Nuevo Día report #2
  14. ^ El Nuevo Día report #3
  15. ^
  16. ^ Primera Hora report
  17. ^ "Refuerzan las medidas de seguridad en torno al gobernador Fortuño" (in Spanish). Agencia EFE. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  18. ^ a b "Strike protests job cuts in Puerto Rico". CNN. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  19. ^ Romano, Andrew (November 25, 2009). "Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch, Vol. 2: The Governor of Puerto Rico ... for President?". Newsweek. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Luis Fortuno Alvarez and Doña Delia M Moscoso
  26. ^"La abuela de la que habla Fortuño no es otra que Delia Moscoso"
  27. ^ Luis Fortuno Alvarez and Doña Delia M Moscoso
  28. ^ Luis-Guillermo Fortuño-Burset
  29. ^

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Governor of Puerto Rico
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Resident Commissioner
 to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Puerto Rico

Succeeded by
Pedro Pierluisi
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Pedro Pierluisi
United States order of precedence
as of 2009
Succeeded by
James L. Jones


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