Wednesday, October 10, 2007
PEDRO PIERLUISI (D)
PEDRO PIERLUISI (D )
Pedro R. Pierluisi Urrutia (born 1959) is a lawyer and politician affiliated with the New Progressive Party (PNP) and the United States Democratic Party. He is currently running for the office of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress in upcoming 2008 elections.
Mr. Pierluisi was born in 1959 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 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 received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from George Washington University in 1984. While in George Washington University, he was President of the George Washington University International Law Society from 1982-1983.
Pierluisi first practiced law as a private attorney in Washington, D.C. from 1984 until 1990. Notably, Mr. Pierluisi was one of the lead attorney's representing the government of Peru in its lawsuit against the Hunt brothers for trying to corner the silver market in the late 1970's. The lawsuit resulted in a $180 million damages award for the plaintiff. He then practiced law in Puerto Rico from 1990 until 1993. He is married to María Elena Carrión and has three sons and a daughter.
In 1993, recently elected Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Rosselló appointed Pierluisi Secretary of Justice (Attorney General) of his new administration. The Senate of Puerto Rico unanimously confirmed him. As Secretary, Pierluisi presided over 500 prosecutors and recruited 50 additional prosecutors for the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, attained a level of criminal convictions in court of up to 96% of cases, increased prosecution of cases referred by the Office of the Puerto Rico Controller by 400%, and increased referrals to the Puerto Rico Special Independent Prosecutor by 50%. In 1994, Pierluisi worked with President Bill Clinton's administration in promoting what eventually became the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Unfortunately, Pierluisi's own brother, José Jaime Pierluisi, also an economic productivity advisor to Governor Rosselló, suffered a carjacking and was murdered outside his home on June 7, 1994.
On November 2, 1994, Pierluisi and the Rosselló Administration achieved Puerto Rico's designation as the United States' seventh High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which enabled Puerto Rico to receive millions of dollars in funding to stem drug trafficking in Puerto Rico. He also served as Vice President of the Interagency Office of HIDTA. He was also active in the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and was elected Chair of the Eastern Region in 1996.
Pierluisi served as Secretary of Justice until his resignation in late 1996 following Governor Rosselló's reelection.
Pierluisi returned to private practice in 1997 as an attorney in the Puerto Rico law firm O'Neill & Borges. At O'Neill & Borges, Pierluisi's practice concentrated in complex commercial and construction litigation, alternative dispute resolution and legislative and regulatory affairs. In addition, he served as Director of the University of Puerto Rico Foundation (1997-2001) and Director of the Puerto Rico Homebuilders Association (1993-2003). Pierluisi also worked as Director of the José Jaime Pierluisi Foundation, dedicated to the memory of his slain brother, and was its president from 2003-2006. He also worked as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association's International Centre for Dispute Resolution and for the New York Stock Exchange during this time.
On May 18, 2007, Pierluisi announced his candidacy for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress in the November 2008 elections. He will accompany current Resident Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Luis Fortuño in a primary ticket. The only other pro-Fortuño leader being mentioned for the post, Senate President Kenneth McClintock announced on May 18, 2007 his decision not to run for elective office in 2008, thus paving the way for a unification of all pro-Fortuño voters behind Pierluisi's bid for office. Fortuño was a classmate at Colegio Marista (coincidentally, Pierluisi and McClintock are both Tulane University alumni and, along with Fortuño, founding members of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association in 1979) and also a fellow cabinet member of Pierluisi's during Governor Rosselló's first term from 1993-1996. They both face an NPP primary election in March 2008 against other candidates. The winners of the primary will then represent the NPP in the general November 2008 elections.