Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset
Former Governor of Puerto Rico
Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset is a Puerto Rican politician who served as the tenth Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,. Fortuño was also president of the New Progressive Party or New Party of Progress (NPP) ("Partido Nuevo Progresista") (PNP) until 2013.
Early life and education
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. One of his maternal great-grandfathers was born in Marín, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain and emigrated to Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.
Fortuño attended Colegio Marista (Marist School) 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 over the organization from 1980 to 1981. During the 1980 gubernatorial election recount, PRSSA generated more than 1,500 absentee ballots at Fortuño's direction for incumbent Governor Carlos Romero Barceló. The generated ballots were an important factor in Romero Barceló's reelection; he won by a slim margin of approximately 3000 votes. Fortuño was also active in other pro-statehood youth organizations and in the Republican Party.
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 PNP 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 de Ferrer. 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 PNP 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 is also the first Republican representative from Puerto Rico to be elected to Congress in its history.
On 9 January 2013, Fortuño presented his resignation to the Presidency of the New Progressive Party, and accepted the party directorate's request that he serve as Acting President until 3 February, when Pierluisi was selected to succeed Fortuño.
Fortuño and former First Lady Lucé Vela moved to Washington, DC in early 2013, where he is a partner with the Steptoe & Johnson law firm in its Corporate, Securities & Finance Group and the Government Affairs and Public Policy Group. He is also involved in Steptoe’s Latin American practice.
He is also a frequent speaker in forums related to business and conservative causes.
Honours and awards
Fortuño is the recipient of the Order of Isabel the Catholic, Grand Cross with Collar, awarded by King Juan Carlos I of Spain in 2009.
He is married to attorney Lucé Vela-Gutierrez; they have triplets, María Luisa, Luis Roberto, and Guillermo (born 1991) who are now college students at mainland U.S. universities.