Monday, November 17, 2008

Senator McClintock appointed Secretary of State of Puerto Rico

By: Phillip Arroyo

On November 11th, 2008, Puerto Rico Governor Elect Luis Fortuno appointed Senate President Kenneth McClintock as Secretary of State, which in Puerto Rico fulfulls the role of Lieutenant Governor. What began as a rumor two to three months ago has now become a reality; for Puerto Rico now has a new Secretary of State that in the eyes of many is more than qualified for the position. Senator Kenneth McClintock has a vast resume in public service and was even mentioned as a potential running mate for now Governor Elect Luis Fortuno in the 2008 general elections.

Among the Senator’s credentials are having co-chaired Hillary Clinton's successful Puerto Rico primary campaign, he graduated from University High School (UHS) in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico in 1974, where he served as student council president, studied at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras School of Business Administration, and in 1980 obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

While in college, McClintock, along with Puerto Rico's current congressional delegate Luis Fortuño and Governor Elect, founded the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, a student organization that contributed to the electoral victory of Carlos Romero Barceló in 1980. McClintock never took the bar, neither in Louisiana nor Puerto Rico, as his intention was not to be a practicing attorney, but a public servant. He began that public service career, before law school, as the staff director for the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Consumer Affairs Committee.

McClintock has, since his teenage years, been involved in politics in one way or another. At the age of 14, McClintock was appointed by President Richard Nixon as delegate to the White House Conference on Youth held from April 18-21, 1971. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In 1979 McClintock served as the first Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association President.

Secretary of State Elect Kenneth McClintock will undoubtedly continue make his case for political equality of Puerto Rico in the halls of Congress. The Pro Statehood Party on the island has just come off a historical landslide electoral victory on November 4th, 2008 in where over a million citizens voted in favor of the party’s return to power.

Now with absolute power bestowed upon by the people of Puerto Rico through the democratic electoral process, the Pro Statehood Party could appoint up to three new judges to the Puerto Rico State Supreme Court. This would mean that the Puerto Rico Supreme Court for the very first time in history could be composed of judges who possess an ideological preference leaning towards statehood.

Along with with Senator Hillary Clinton’s name being tossed into the pool of potential US Secretary of State candidates to be appointed by President Barack Obama, as well as her continuance as US Senator for New York is she decides to do so , may guarantee the level of priority the Puerto Rico political status issue will receive during President Obama’s administration. One thing is for sure, Secretary of State McClintock along with Puerto Rico Congressman Pedro Pierluisi and Governor Luis Fortuno will play a key role during the next four years in Puerto Rico’s century old quest for political self determination that may finally result in political, social and economic equality for the 4 million american citizens of Puerto Rico.

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