Puerto Rico Governor
Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset (born October 31, 1960) is the governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States of America. Fortuño is also the president of the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (NPP), a member of the Republican National Committee, and serves as President-elect of the Council of State Governments. On June 26, 2011 he announced his plans to run for reelection, which, if successful, would be the first gubernatorial re-election in Puerto Rico in 16 years.
In the 1990s, Fortuño served as the 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 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, former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez and then senator Miriam Ramírez. He was then elected Resident Commissioner in 2004, defeating Senator Roberto Prats. Fortuño represented Puerto Rico from 2005 to 2009 in the United States House of Representatives, and served as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a Member of the newly-created United States House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs and co-chair, with Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), of the Friends of Spain Caucus.
Fortuño later won the NPP gubernatorial nomination by a wide margin after defeating former Governor and then-Senator Pedro Rosselló in the primaries. He then won the race for Governor by a wide margin during the 2008 elections, defeating incumbent Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. 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. He was also the third Republican Representative elected from Puerto Rico in the island territory's history.
Early life and family
Fortuño was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Luis Fortuño Moscoso, a dentist and Shirley Joyce Burset de Mari. He is the eldest of four brothers. His maternal great grandfather was born in Marín, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain and emigrated to Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. The surname Burset ultimately comes from Catalonia with his 3rd great-grandfather being born in Catalonia.
Fortuño attended Colegio Marista (Marist College) in Guaynabo, graduating in 1978. He then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in diplomacy from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In 1985, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. During this period, Fortuño was an intern at the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, D.C.
While in college, Luis Fortuño co-founded the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association (PRSSA) with Kenneth McClintock and presided it from 1980 to 1981. 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. 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) who are now college students at mainland U.S. universities.
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 primary season. He won the November 2003 primaries with 61.28% of votes and defeated former senator 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). Fortuño's running mate, Pedro 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 was the first time in Puerto Rican history that the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Resident Commissioner were not from the same political party.
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 re-election 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. However, as other political status bills in the past, the measure never made it to the President for his signature.
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, for which the aggressor, who refers to himself as "Tipo Común" (roughly translated to "Common Joe") was convicted and served time in jail.
On October 15, 2009, thousands of Puerto Rican workers and supporters gathered for what organizers tried to pass as a "general strike" over government budget cuts. Puerto Rico's unemployment rate, currently exceeds 16.7 percent (June, 2010), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Fortuño administration expected the layoffs to propel that rate to 17.1 percent (the unemployment rate for April 2010 was 17.2).
On August 26, 2010, teachers unions staged one day walkout to protest what they say is Fortuño' plans to privatize employee pensions, a shortage of teachers and the deterioration of the school system. The walkout was the largest labor protest in public schools on the island since a 10-day strike in 2008 as teachers demanded improved wages and working conditions.
As a result of all the cost-cutting measures taken during his first two years in office, on January 31, 2011, Gov. Fortuño signed Law 1 of 2011, the new Internal Revenue Code that provides, retroactive to January 1, 2010, tax relief including a 50% tax cut for individuals and 30% for businesses, beginning with a 7-14% tax cut for individuals and a 7% tax cut for businesses effective during tax year 2010. The average yearly cost of the tax cuts amounts to $1.2 billion.
Fortuño has also been mentioned by Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, as someone to look for in the future on the national political stage. George Will endorsed Fortuño's support for statehood as a national Republican strategy.
His June 26, 2011 announcement in Bayamón that he will seek a second term as Governor of Puerto Rico suggests that he will not aspire to national office in 2012.
Obama names Fortuño to Council of Governors
President Barack Obama nominated Governor Fortuño to the Council of Governors, a bipartisan commission aimed at improving coordination of efforts between state and federal agencies to address matters of defense and national security.
Elected to leadership of the Council of State Governments
On May 22, 2010, Governor Fortuño was elected Vice President of the Council of State Governments (CSG), the first Puerto Rican to hold a leadership position in that intergovernmental organization since his now Secretary of State, Kenneth McClintock, served as chairman in 1999. CSG represents the three branches of government of the 55 states and territories of the nation. Several Canadian provinces are international members of the organization, as well.
Commemoration of Quincentenary of the Governorship of Puerto Rico
In 2010, Gov. Fortuño created a Commission for the Celebration of the Quincentenary of the Governorship of Puerto Rico, a celebration that began on October 12, 2010 and will extend to November 19, 2011. As part of the celebration, at the tail-end of a Trade Mission to Spain, he led a celebration of the life of Puerto Rico's first governor Juan Ponce de León in Santervás de Campos, near Valladolid on January 21, 2011. He also spoke that day at the Universidad de Valladolid.
- Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico
- Fortuño's official 2008 campaign site (Spanish)
- Fortuño's MySpace site
- Biography by CIDOB Foundation (Spanish)
- Caribbean Business article on Dec. 2006 Caribbean Business/Gaither/WOSO poll
- General profile 2008
- ↑ http://www.elnuevodia.com/puntosimportantesdelmensajedeluisfortuno-1001538.html
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Whittington, Lauren W. (2008-11-04). "Fortuño Elected Puerto Rico Governor", Roll Call. Retrieved on 2008-11-05.
- ↑ Official website
- ↑ Children of MARTÍN BURSET and MARÍA MASFERRER are: 3rd Generation
- ↑ Great Grandfather: José Burset Masferrer
- ↑ José Burset-Masferrer (b. 28 Nov 1876, d. 11 Dec 1951)
- ↑ Descendants of Luis Guillermo Fortuño-Burset
- ↑ Template error: argument title is required.
- ↑  Luis Fortuno's PRSSA Profile
- ↑  PRSSA History
- ↑ http://www.elnuevodia.com/fortunoviajaparallevarsushijosalauniversidad-765945.html
- ↑ "Puerto Rico Elections Decided—Split Decision With a Statehood Tilt". U.S. Council for Puerto Rico Statehood. 2004. http://www.prstatehood.org/news/election.asp. Retrieved on 2010-06-02.
- ↑ "Refuerzan las medidas de seguridad en torno al gobernador Fortuño" (in Spanish), Agencia EFE. Retrieved on 2009-10-26.
- ↑ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- ↑ "Strike protests job cuts in Puerto Rico", CNN (October 16, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-10-15.
- ↑ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
- ↑ Puerto Rican teachers strike over staff, funding (AP)
- ↑ Teachers warn of full strike after 1-day walkout
- ↑ http://www.vocero.com/noticias-es/esta-noche-se-aprobaria-reforma-contributiva
- ↑ http://www.newsmax.com/Ruddy/fortuno-puerto-rico-taxes/2010/04/07/id/355060
- ↑ George F. Will (July 18, 2010). "Through Puerto Rico, the GOP can reach out to Hispanics". Retrieved on June 14, 2011.
- ↑ http://www.vocero.com/noticias-es/gobernador-viaja-a-simi-valley-california
- ↑ http://www.caribbeanbusinesspr.com/news03.php?nt_id=39842&ct_id=1&ct_name=1
- ↑ http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts-2410-0
- ↑ http://prssa51.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/obama-names-fortuno-to-council-of-governors/
- ↑ http://www.elnuevodia.com/eligenafortunocomovicepresidente-709948.html
- ↑ http://www.nortecastilla.es/20110121/local/valladolid/santervas-campos-rememora-figura-201101211733.html