Alejandro García Padilla

Alejandro Javier García Padilla (Spanish: [aleˈxandɾo ɣaɾˈsi.a]; born August 3, 1971) is a Puerto Rican politician and attorney who served as the governor of Puerto Rico from 2013 to 2017.

Alejandro García Padilla
Governor of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2013 – January 2, 2017
Preceded byLuis Fortuño
Succeeded byRicardo Rosselló
Member of the Puerto Rican Senate
from the at-large district
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
Puerto Rico Secretary of Consumer Affairs
In office
January 2, 2005 – January 1, 2009
GovernorAníbal Acevedo Vilá
Preceded by[data unknown/missing]
Succeeded byLuis Rivera Marín
Personal details
Alejandro Javier García Padilla

(1971-08-03) August 3, 1971 (age 50)
Coamo, Puerto Rico
Political partyPopular Democratic
Other political
(m. 2001)
EducationUniversity of Puerto Rico, Río
Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (JD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Prior to this position, García Padilla held various roles in the political landscape of Puerto Rico; first as Secretary of Consumer Affairs, and then as a member of the 24th Senate of Puerto Rico and as president of the Popular Democratic Party.[1] Locally, he is a staunch advocate for maintaining the current political status of Puerto Rico as that of an unincorporated territory of the United States with self-government, while at the national level he is allied with the Democratic Party.[2]

As governor, García Padilla shared his legislative powers with the 25th Senate and 29th House of Representatives, both controlled by his party.[3] Regardless of this, he was not able to persuade several members of his own party to support his proposals. This failure, in addition to his low popularity, ultimately led him to not seek re-election thus becoming the second governor in Puerto Rican history to not do so after their first term.[a]

Early years

García Padilla was born on August 3, 1971, in Coamo, Puerto Rico, to Luis Gerardo García Sánchez (1927–2005) and María de los Ángeles Padilla Passalacqua and is the youngest of six brothers including Juan Carlos and Antonio.[4] His father Luis, 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] He is of paternal Asturian descent with his grandfather Carlos Garcia Cadorniga born 1890 in Navia, Asturias, Spain who settled in Ponce.[5][6] He also has Corsican lineage from his maternal great-great grandfather.[7]

García Padilla was raised in Barrio Cuyón in his hometown. He attended the Colegio Valvanera High School. After graduating, 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.[8] 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.[b] He is also the first and only governor born in a rural municipality.[b]

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.[8] 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.[10]

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. During his tenure at the agency, he was known for his credibility, accessibility and aggressive fiscalization.[11][12] 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.[13] 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.[14] He also announced his candidacy for President of the Popular Democratic Party, running unopposed, and took office on April 4, 2011.[15] 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),[16] replacing Héctor Ferrer Ríos, who withdrew from the congressional race in order to run as the PPD's candidate for Mayor of San Juan.[17]

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%.[18][19]


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 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.[20] His term was to be concurrent 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. Kenneth McClintock, outgoing Secretary of State, opened the ceremony until transferring his duties and responsibilities to David Bernier, incoming Secretary of State, who served as the master of ceremonies.[21] It was the first time in the history of Puerto Rico that a governor was actually sworn in public as former governors were sworn in private before their inaugurational ceremony; making their oath of office merely symbolic. It was also the first time in history that five former Governors of Puerto Rico were present in an inauguration. The inauguration was followed by a public concert held at the open areas of the Puerto Rico Convention Center.[22]

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.[23] His first executive orders were proclaimed on January 3, 2013, one day after being sworn in.[24] 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.[24] 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.[24]

Domestic policies

On June 30, 2013, García Padilla signed the Redistribution and Tax Charge Adjustment Act of 2013 ("Ley de Redistribución y Ajuste de la Carga Contributiva". Act No. 40 of 2013 (PDF).) 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.[25] Under his administration, a new tax of 4 cents per liter was imposed on gasoline.[26]

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

On June 28, 2014, Governor García Padilla signed into law the Puerto Rico Public Corporation Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act, which sought to allow corporations owned by the Commonwealth, such as the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority, and the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority to declare bankruptcy.[28] However, in February 2015, U.S. District Judge Francisco Besosa found the Act was void because it was preempted by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.[29] In July 2015, that ruling was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, with Judge Juan R. Torruella concurring only in the judgment.[30] The following June, in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust (2016), that ruling was additionally affirmed by a U.S. Supreme Court in a vote of 5–2, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.[31]

Facing the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis, in June 2015, Governor García Padilla announced the Commonwealth was in a "death spiral" and "the debt is not payable."[32]

On June 30, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the PROMESA into law, which empowered him to appoint a seven-member financial oversight and management board that has ultimate control over the Commonwealth's budget.[33]

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.[34]

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.[35][36] 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.[37]

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.[38][39]

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.[40]

During a press conference in an agricultural area of Guanica, Garcia Padilla stated "Mi inglés no es de New England (Nueva Inglaterra). Yo hablo inglés con acento de Coamo" (My English is not from New England; I speak English with a Coamo accent)" and added he is proud of his rural origins, that his English reflects said origin, and said "Hablo mejor inglés que lo que habla cualquier americano el español” (I speak better English than any American speaks Spanish)."[41]

On December 14, 2015, after weeks of speculation and due to opposition from his own party, García Padilla announced he wouldn't seek re-election.[d]

Personal life

García Padilla married Wilma Pastrana, a CPA, on April 7, 2001.[43] They have three children: Ana, Juan Pablo, and Diego.[44][45] 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.[46][relevant?]



  1. ^ The first governor to not seek re-election after their first term was Sila María Calderón in 2004.
  2. ^ 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."[9]
  3. ^ 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."[27]
  4. ^ Brown (2015) "Especially damaging to Garcia Padilla’s reelection chances, he has faced strong opposition within his own party, especially from mayors who feel he did not consult them on key decisions impacting towns."[42]


  1. ^ a b "Meet the Governor". Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. Archived from the original on September 4, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  2. ^ "Fortuño: Romney would be good for PR". Caribbean Business. August 28, 2012. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013. [ ... ] Popular Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Alejandro García Padilla, is a national Democrat who backs President Barack Obama’s bid for a second term.
  3. ^ "Elecciones Generales 2012 y Consulta Sobre el Estatus Político de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Puerto Rico State Commission on Elections. Archived from the original on August 4, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Hon. Alejandro J. García Padilla, Gobernador. Official website.
  5. ^ [1] Carlos Garcia Cadorniga, United States Census, 1940(Full text via FamilySearch.)
  6. ^ Luis Gerardo Garcia Y Sanchez Puerto Rico, Civil Registration(Full text via FamilySearch.)
  7. ^ Luis Passalacqua Costa (Shows Certificate of Juan Passalacqua and parents birthplace) (Full text via FamilySearch.)
  8. ^ a b "Alejandro García Padilla Biography". Puerto Rico Senate. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  9. ^ "García Padilla : Del campo... ¿a La Fortaleza?". Primera Hora (in Spanish). August 4, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "Alejandro García Padilla Biography". Alejandro por Puerto Rico. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  11. ^ "Populares prefieren a García Padilla". NotiUno 1280. 3 November 2009. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  12. ^ "García Padilla ya tiene su equipo". El Nuevo Día. July 30, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Legislative Results Lookup, Senators At-Large, General Elections 2008". Elections in Puerto Rico. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  14. ^ Gómez, Antonio R. (March 7, 2011). "Alejandro García Padilla se tira de pecho". Primera Hora. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  15. ^ "Pospone su asamblea el Partido Popular para julio". El Nuevo Día. March 26, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  16. ^ Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Díaz Alcaide, Maritza (October 26, 2011). "Rafael Cox Alomar es el candidato del PPD a comisionado residente en Washington". Primera Hora. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  18. ^ "Puerto Rico changes course, elects Garcia Padilla as governor". Fox News. 7 November 2012. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  19. ^ Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Home – El Nuevo Día". Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  22. ^ "El Nuevo Día". Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  23. ^ "New governor takes office in debt-swamped Puerto Rico". Reuters. January 2, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  24. ^ a b c Ruiz, Gloria (January 3, 2013). "Gobernador emite orden ejecutiva para activar la Guardia Nacional". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish).
  25. ^ "Ley de Redistribución y Ajuste de la Carga Contributiva". Act No. 40 of 2013 (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  26. ^ López Alicea, Keila (July 1, 2013). "Fuerte aumento en el precio de la gasolina". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  27. ^ "Puerto Rico's economy: Buying on credit is so nice". The Economist. November 23, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  28. ^ Recent Legislation: Puerto Rico Passes New Municipal Reorganization Act, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 1320 (2015).
  29. ^ Franklin California Tax-Free Trust v. Puerto Rico, 85 F. Supp. 3d 577 (D.P.R. 2015).
  30. ^ Franklin California Tax-Free Trust v. Puerto Rico, 805 F.3d 322 (1st Cir. 2015).
  31. ^ "Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  32. ^ Michael Corkery; Mary Williams Walsh (June 29, 2015). "Puerto Rico's Governor Says Island's Debts Are 'Not Payable'". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  33. ^ Developments in the Law—Ch. II: Territorial Federalism, 130 Harv. L. Rev. 1632 (2017).
  34. ^ Rivera, Manuel (June 22, 2013). "Viaje de AGP a España "promovido por el Banco Santander"". Noticel. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  35. ^ "Colombia y Puerto Rico se dan la mano". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). July 20, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  36. ^ "Relaciones comerciales entre Colombia y Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Universidad ICESI. July 23, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  37. ^ Jusino, Mardelis (August 4, 2013). ""Puerto Rico no aguanta más" los impuestos" (in Spanish). WAPA-TV. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  38. ^ "García Padilla: "Me voy a postular y voy a ganar"". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). November 6, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  39. ^ "Malas notas para el gobernador". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  40. ^ "Cinco familiares de García Padilla laboran en el gobierno". El Neuvo Dia (in Spanish). January 21, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  41. ^ "Alejandro García Padilla se ríe de su forma de hablar inglés". Primera Hora. November 18, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  42. ^ Brown, Nick (December 14, 2015). "Puerto Rico governor says won't seek re-election". Reuters. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  43. ^ "De aniversario García Padilla". El Nuevo Día. April 7, 2011. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  44. ^ "De aniversario García Padilla". El Nuevo Día. April 7, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  45. ^ Ruiz, Gloria (January 3, 2013). "Hijos de García Padilla disfrutan de La Fortaleza". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  46. ^ Ortega Marrero, Melissa and Daniel Rivera Vargas (May 21, 2012). "Hermano de García Padilla describe momentos de tensión durante asalto". El Nuevo Día.
  47. ^ Luis G Garcia Sanchez - United States Census, 1940
  48. ^ Maria De Los Angeles Padilla Y Passalacqua United States Census, 1940
  49. ^ Carlos Garcia Cadorniga - United States Census, 1940
  50. ^ Eduvigis Sanchez De Garcia - United States Census, 1940
  51. ^ a b c Antonio Padilla Costa United States Census, 1930
  52. ^ Julia Passalacqua De Padilla United States Census, 1940
  53. ^ Julio Padilla Y Iguina United States Census, 1910
  54. ^ Angela Costa Y Semydey De Padilla United States Census, 1910
  55. ^ a b c Juan Passalacqua Y Palmieri United States Census, 1910 (Shows parents birthplace also)
  56. ^ a b Julia Passalacqua De Padilla United States Census, 1930
  57. ^ a b c d Julio Padilla Y Iguina Shows parents brithplaces
  58. ^ Luis Passalacqua (Shows parents birthplace on certificate of Juan Passalacqua - Corsica, France and Aibonito, PR)
  59. ^ Eufrosina Braschi Y Rodriguez (Parents are Jose Braschi born in Italy and Tomasa Rodriguez Y Gonzalez from Juana Diaz, PR) - Puerto Rico, Civil Registration

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Puerto Rico Popular Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Popular Democratic nominee for Governor of Puerto Rico
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Puerto Rico
Succeeded by