Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Order:||6th Democratically Elected Governor|
|Term of Office:||January 2, 1993–January 2, 2001|
|Predecessor:||Rafael Hernández Colón|
|Successor:||Sila M. Calderón|
|Date of Birth:||Sunday, April 5, 1944|
|Place of Birth:||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|First Lady:||Maga Nevares de Rosselló|
|Political Party:||New Progressive Party, Democratic Party|
|Resident Commissioner:||Carlos Romero Barceló (1993-2001)|
Pedro Juan Rosselló González (born April 5, 1944) was the sixth democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico from 1993 to 2001. He also served as President of the Council of State Governments as well as Chairman of the Southern Governors Association. Rosselló sought a third term on the General Elections of 2004 but was defeated by Resident Commissioner Aníbal Acevedo Vilá by a margin of 3,566 votes.
He currently holds a seat in the Senate of Puerto Rico.
Rosselló attended high school at Academia del Perpetuo Socorro in Miramar, a suburb of San Juan. He obtained his bachelor's degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1966. After graduation, he continued his studies in Medicine at Yale University, which he completed in 1970, and later specialized in pediatric surgery. He later attended the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus where he earned a Master's in Public Health (MPH) degree in 1981. He was a professor of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, at the Department of Pediatrics, and also practiced his profession at the San Jorge Children's Hospital. He also served as Director of Health for the city of San Juan.
Rosselló became active in politics in 1988 when he ran for the post of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, losing to Jaime Fuster of the PPD. He then ran for Governor in the elections of 1992, defeating Victoria Muñoz Mendoza, whose father was Luis Muñoz Marín, the first elected Governor of the island. In 1996, he ran for re-election against Hector Luis Acevedo, Mayor of San Juan, and won the re-election after obtaining more than one million votes.
While governor, Rosselló concentrated on trying to attract international investment in Puerto Rico and launched a anti-crime campaign known as "Mano Dura Contra el Crimen" ("Heavy handed towards crime") in which the United States National Guard was used to assist state police. His administration was characterized by involvement in big construction and other government projects, including a light-rail train system and a massive aqueduct which linked two major water reservoirs. His policies also included a push toward privatization of public entities.
Under his administration a Health Care reform was approved. He lead two campaigns for Puerto Rican statehood in 1993 and 1998 in which plebiscites where held to consult the Puerto Rican public on the political status with the United States. The current Commonwealth formula prevailed on both consultations by a slight margin.
In 1998, the sale of the state-owned Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC ) to GTE led to a general strike organized by labor unions. A similar attempt to privatize PRTC in 1988, under then Governor Rafael Hernández Colón, led to a similar strike which aborted the sale. Under Rosello's administration, the sale proceeded nonetheless. The sale price was 1.9 million dollars, which union leaders described as "ridiculously low" (PRTC generated about a billion dollars of yearly sales at the time of the sale).
In April 1999, a U.S. Navy bomber mis-fired its missiles at a practice range and struck Watch-post in Vieques, Puerto Rico, killing a civilian. The protests which followed in the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques gathered international attention (see Navy-Vieques protests). The people of Puerto Rico began massive protest asking for the departure of the Navy from the island of Vieques. Governor Rosselló at first supported the immediate exit of the Navy, appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee pressing the Senators, among them John Warner and James Inhofe, to immediately take action so that the Navy leave the island. In 2000, Rosselló and then U.S. President Bill Clinton came into agreement that the U.S. Navy would leave the island of Vieques by the year 2003.
His last term was marred by a large number of accusations and the convictions of some members of his administration on corruption charges. Many believe that it is largely due to the unpopularity generated by these accusations, and also by the privatization of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company, that Rosselló decided not to seek the office of Governor for a third in the 2000 elections. After his term ended in 2000, he moved to Virginia and began teaching at Johns Hopkins University.
Retirement and Return
In early 2001 Rosselló moved to the state of Virginia. As of November 2004, over 30 members of the administration have been convicted and several more arrested, including several Cabinet members, mayors, legislators and campaign organizers. Also, dozens of contractors, administrators and businessmen are being prosecutred for involvement in bribery and extortion schemes. Rosello maintains he was unaware of the illegal activity.
In 2003 he returned to politics and overwhelmingly won his party's primary nomination against Carlos Pesquera. In the 2004 Puerto Rico Elections elections his party won the majority in both branches of the Legislature, and also won the seat of Resident Commissioner. However, Rosselló was defeated by Resident Commissioner Aníbal Acevedo Vilá by a close margin which required a recount by law.
A recount of the took place since the margin of victory of Aníbal Acevedo Vilá was less than 4,000 votes. During the period, Rosselló argued that certain ballots in which voters made multiple marks on the ballot where invalid. Even though the Puerto Rico Supreme court ruled that the votes where valid and should be counted, a Federal district judge ordered the votes be counted but not tallied to the final count until he reached a final decision on the matter. An appeals court would later side with the Puerto Rico Supreme Court and the disputed votes where counted and finally tallied. On December 28, 2004 Acevedo Vilá was certified as the elected Governor of Puerto Rico. Rosselló had lost by a margin of 3,566 votes and maintains that Acevedo Vilá is not the legitimate governor of Puerto Rico.
However, Rosselló was able to gain a seat in the Senate of Puerto Rico when a recently elected first time senator announced his resignation shortly after being sworn in, so that the New Progressive Party could fill the vacancy. Roselló announced his intentions of filling in the vacant position and officially assumed duties on February 13, 2005. An internal power struggle within the New Progressive Party is currently underway between Rosselló and the current President of the Senate, Kenneth McClintock.
- rossello.com - Rosselló's campaign website.
- Puerto Rico Elections Commission - Up-to-date results of the 2004 elections and the recount.
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