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Alejandro García Padilla


Alejandro García Padilla

Alejandro García Padilla
11th[1] Governor of Puerto Rico
Assumed office
2 January 2013
Preceded by Luis Fortuño
24th Senate of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 2, 2013
Puerto Rico Secretary of Consumer Affairs
In office
January 2, 2005 – January 2, 2009
Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Personal details
Born Alejandro Javier García Padilla
(1971-08-03) August 3, 1971
Coamo, Puerto Rico, U.S.
Political party Popular Democratic Party
Other political
Spouse(s) Wilma Pastrana
Children Ana Patricia
Juan Pablo
Diego Alejandro
Residence La Fortaleza
Alma mater University of Puerto Rico (B.S.)
Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (JD)
Website .pr.gobierno.fortalezawww

Alejandro Javier García Padilla[2] (born August 3, 1971) is a Puerto Rican (American) politician and is the 11th and current Governor of Puerto Rico. Prior to becoming governor, García Padilla held various roles in the political landscape of Puerto Rico, first as Secretary of Consumer Affairs, then as member of the 24th Senate of Puerto Rico, and finally as President of the Popular Democratic Party.[1] At the national level García Padilla is a member of the Democratic Party of the United States.[2]

As governor, García Padilla shares his legislative powers with the 25th Senate and 29th House of Representatives, which are both controlled by his party.[3]

Early years

García Padilla was born on August 3, 1971 in Coamo, Puerto Rico, the youngest of six brothers. His father, a World War II veteran, held various jobs throughout his life to support his family, including machinery operator, and returned from the war to become a general manager of a manufacturing company. His mother has been a dedicated homemaker.[1] After high school, he obtained his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Puerto Rico, and a juris doctor from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico School of Law.[4] García Padilla is the first and only governor to be entirely educated in Puerto Rico, and the first and only governor who has resided only in Puerto Rico during his entire life.[3] He is also the first and only governor born in a rural municipality.[3]

Professional life

García Padilla began his law career working at Puerto Rico's Court of Appeals as a law clerk. He then worked as an attorney, specializing in Property, Estates, Contracts, and Administrative Law. He also worked as a law professor at the Interamerican University.[4] He later served as a legislative aide for the committees on Internal Affairs, Women's Affairs, and Agriculture, among others. He was a member of the board of the Puerto Rico Bar Association.[6]

Political career

In January 2005, García Padilla was confirmed as Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs under the administration of Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. As Secretary, he managed to keep gasoline prices lower than in any other area of the United States.[6] In 2007, García Padilla resigned his position as Secretary and announced that he would run for Senator. In the 2008 general elections, he received the highest number of votes among all senatorial candidates.[7] After the election, he was selected by José Dalmau Santiago, Senate Minority Leader, to serve as the ranking member on several committees, including Governmental Affairs, Public Safety, and Judicial Affairs.

Gubernatorial Campaign

On March 6, 2011, García Padilla announced his plans to run for Governor of Puerto Rico in 2012.[8] He also announced his candidacy for President of the Popular Democratic Party, running unopposed, and took office on April 4, 2011.[9] On October 26, 2011 he named Rafael Cox Alomar as his running mate for Resident Commissioner (who went on to lose the election by a 1.28% margin,[10] replacing Héctor Ferrer Ríos, who withdrew from the congressional race in order to run as the PPD's candidate for Mayor of San Juan,[11] a candidacy from which he subsequently resigned due to family conflicts. Rep. Carmen Yulín Cruz replaced him and is now the Mayor of San Juan.

2012 elections

After the 2012 gubernatorial elections of November 6, 2012, García Padilla was elected as the next Governor of Puerto Rico, by a narrow (0.6%) margin, defeating incumbent Luis Fortuño 47.73% to 47.13%.[12][13]


Puerto Rican law requires that a formal process is followed when the government must transition from one Governor to another. As such, García Padilla formed the 2012 Incoming Committee on Government Transition composed of aides and advisors who would eventually become part of his Cabinet.



Inauguration of Alejandro García Padilla as the 11th Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on the Capitol steps.

García Padilla was officially inaugurated as the 11th Governor of Puerto Rico[1] on January 2, 2013 by Federico Hernández Denton, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, at an event held in the Puerto Rico Capitol. He will serve as governor concurrently with the 16th Cabinet of Puerto Rico and in parallel with the 17th Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, the 25th Senate of Puerto Rico, and the 29th House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.

First days

García Padilla formed a cabinet composed of former aides and members of the private sector to form the 16th Cabinet of Puerto Rico. He holds office in parallel with the 17th Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, the 25th Senate of Puerto Rico, and the 29th House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. His primary challenge will be taking a government with a large indebtness and high deficit.[14] His first executive orders were proclaimed on January 3, 2013, one day after being sworn in.[15] One of them activated the Puerto Rico National Guard to monitor Puerto Rico's coasts and ports in order to reduce illegal immigration and the flow of illegal goods into the island, while another established that the Puerto Rico Chief of Staff must be consulted before making any appointments to empty seats, issuing contracts or amending existing contracts.[15] The third executive order was proclaimed to control spending in agencies with credit cards, phones, escorts, official cars, overseas travel, and cell phones and personal digital assistants.[15]

Domestic policies

On June 30, 2013 García Padilla signed the Redistribution and Tax Charge Adjustment Act of 2013 (Act No. 40 of 2013) reducing the portion of the Puerto Rico Sales and Use Tax that municipalities charge from a 1.5% to 1.0%—effectively lowering the total sales tax from 7.0% to 6.5%. However, this change has not yet been reflected, and the sales tax rate of 7.0% remains. The Act also expanded the use tax to include more services, including business-to-business sales and services like consulting.[16] Under his administration, a new tax of 4 cents per liter was imposed on gasoline.[17]

As part of his economic policies, García Padilla launched an austerity programme, raising taxes by 1.1% of the gross national product (GNP) and making public employees’ pension schemes less generous.[4] These measures are expected to trim the government deficit from $2.2 billion to $800 million.[4] This, according to The Economist, has made 62% of Puerto Ricans disapprove of García Padilla.[4]

Foreign policies

In June 2013, García Padilla traveled to Spain where he met with representatives of the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry of Spain to showcase Puerto Rico as an attractive investment destination.[19]

In July 2013, García Padilla's administration established a trade agreement between Colombia and Puerto Rico whereby Colombia will import medicine from Puerto Rico and provide knowledge transfer in several industries.[20][21] Puerto Rico on the other hand will co-manufacture products together with Colombia, so that Colombia can benefit from Puerto Rico's lack of tariffs when exporting to the United States.

Public image and perception

On August 4, 2013, protesters marched in Old San Juan to express their discontent with new taxes imposed by his administration and the way the government has been handling its finances.[22]

On November 6, 2013, El Nuevo Día released poll results published a year after his election that indicated that 57% of poll participants rated García-Padilla's administration with a "D" or an "F" grade and 62% disapproved of his performance as Governor.[23][24]

He has also been accused of nepotism, because of his having five relatives working in the government, three of them as political appointees. Most of the criticism was focused on the appointment of his cousin, Ricardo Colon Padilla, as director of the commonwealth's Medicaid program, as Colon been previously convicted of providing the FBI and IRS with false testimony during an investigation.[25]

Garcia Padilla has been ridiculed by some Puerto Ricans for his poor command of the English language, marked by stammering, poor vocabulary, a strong accent, and difficulty in understanding the language.[26][27][28][29] He has tried to shake off criticism of his language skills by appealing to populism, stating that he is proud of his rural origins, and that his English reflects said origin, and that he also "speaks better English than a mainlander speaks Spanish."[30]

Personal life

García Padilla has been married to Wilma Pastrana, a CPA, since April 7, 2001. They have three children: Ana, Juan Pablo, and Diego.[31][32] Among his older brothers, Antonio served as President of the University of Puerto Rico and Juan Carlos serves as mayor of Coamo. Another of his brothers, Luis Gerardo, was a government employee with the Puerto Rico Telephone Company.[33]


  1. ^ a b García Padilla is the 11th Governor of Puerto Rico by ordinality but the 10th person to hold such post. This is because Rafael Hernández Colón served two non-consecutive terms as 4th and 6th Governor of Puerto Rico.
  2. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is García and the second or maternal family name is Padilla.
  3. ^ a b Primera Hora (in Spanish) "Yo voy a ser el primer gobernador de Puerto Rico que no es de una ciudad y que hizo todos sus estudios aquí."[5]
  4. ^ a b c The Economist "The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, had already launched an austerity programme, raising taxes by 1.1% of GNP and making public employees’ pension schemes less generous. That is expected to trim the deficit from $2.2 billion to $800m; it has already made 62% of Puerto Ricans disapprove of Mr García Padilla."[18]


  1. ^ a b "Meet the Governor".  
  2. ^ "Fortuño: Romney would be good for PR".  
  3. ^ "Elecciones Generales 2012 y Consulta Sobre el Estatus Político de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish).  
  4. ^ a b "Alejandro García Padilla Biography". Puerto Rico Senate. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "García Padilla : Del campo... ¿a La Fortaleza?".  
  6. ^ a b "Alejandro García Padilla Biography". Alejandro por Puerto Rico. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Legislative Results Lookup, Senators At-Large, General Elections 2008". Elections in Puerto Rico. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Gómez, Antonio R. (7 March 2011). "Alejandro García Padilla se tira de pecho".  
  9. ^ "Pospone su asamblea el Partido Popular para julio".  
  10. ^
  11. ^ Díaz Alcaide, Maritza (26 October 2011). "Rafael Cox Alomar es el candidato del PPD a comisionado residente en Washington".  
  12. ^ "Puerto Rico changes course, elects Garcia Padilla as governor". Fox News. 2012-11-07. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "New governor takes office in debt-swamped Puerto Rico".  
  15. ^ a b c Ruiz, Gloria (January 4, 2013). "Gobernador emite orden ejecutiva para activar la Guardia Nacional".  
  16. ^ Ley de Redistribución y Ajuste de la Carga Contributiva, Act No. 40 of 2013 (in Spanish). Retrieved on August 10, 2013.
  17. ^ López Alicea, Keila (July 1, 2013). "Fuerte aumento en el precio de la gasolina".  
  18. ^ "Puerto Rico's economy: Buying on credit is so nice".  
  19. ^ Rivera, Manuel (June 22, 2013). """Viaje de AGP a España "promovido por el Banco Santander.  
  20. ^ "Colombia y Puerto Rico se dan la mano".  
  21. ^ "Relaciones comerciales entre Colombia y Puerto Rico" (in Spanish).  
  22. ^ Jusino, Mardelis (August 4, 2013). Puerto Rico no aguanta más" los impuestos""" (in Spanish).  
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Malas notas para el gobernador".  
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "De aniversario García Padilla".  
  32. ^ Ruiz, Gloria (January 3, 2013). "Hijos de García Padilla disfrutan de La Fortaleza".  
  33. ^ Ortega Marrero, Melissa and Daniel Rivera Vargas (May 21, 2012). "Hermano de García Padilla describe momentos de tensión durante asalto".  
Party political offices
Preceded by
Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Popular Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Puerto Rico
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Luis Fortuño
Governor of Puerto Rico
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