David Bernier

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David Bernier
David Bernier.jpg
23rd Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 2, 2013
Governor Alejandro García Padilla
Preceded by Kenneth McClintock
President of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee
In office
2008–2012
Preceded by Héctor Cardona
Succeeded by Sara Rosario
Secretary of Sports and Recreation
In office
January 2, 2005 – September 2008
Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Preceded by Jorge Fuentes
Succeeded by Henry Neumann
Personal details
Born David Enrique Bernier Rivera
(1977-01-21) January 21, 1977 (age 37)
Patillas, Puerto Rico
Political party Popular Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Alexandra Fuentes (2007–present)
Children Adrián David
Miranda
Residence Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Alma mater University of Puerto Rico

David Enrique Bernier Rivera[a] (born January 21, 1977) is an odontologist and the current Secretary of State of Puerto Rico. Bernier previously served as Secretary of Sports and Recreation of Puerto Rico, as well as Executive Director of Puerto Rico's Office of Youth Affairs and President of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee. He is also a former athlete and former member of the Puerto Rican National Fencing Team.

Early years and education[edit]

Bernier was born in Patillas, Puerto Rico. His father, David Bernier, was a professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce. David and his older brother Victor attended the María Dávila Semidey School in Patillas, where they received their primary education. After this, they enrolled in the school of sports of the Albergue Olímpico located in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Bernier became a member of the National Fencing Selection of Puerto Rico, during his school years, and represented Puerto Rico in events worldwide. He was also president of the first graduating class of the Albergue Olímpico school.[2]

Bernier later studied at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey where he received a bachelor's degree in Natural Sciences, graduating magna cum laude.[citation needed][1] He then completed a doctorate in odontology at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus.[1][2] He was also president of the Student Council[where?] and was also named president of the Association of Athletes of High Endurance.[where?][citation needed]

Sports life[edit]

As a member of the National Fencing Selection of Puerto Rico, Bernier was the Panamerican Youth Champion for three consecutive years. He also won the Bronze Medal in the 1998 Central American and Caribbean Games, celebrated in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Bernier and his brother went to Carolina, where they trained under trainer Gilberto Peña. In the 2003 Pan American Games celebrated in the Dominican Republic, his brother, Victor won the Bronze Medal in Individual Épée Fencing and the brothers Bernier and Peña (Jonathan and Marcos) won a Bronze Medal in Team Épée Fencing. Victor became the first Puerto Rican to win a medal in fencing for his country and the team (consisting of the Bernier and Peña brothers), the first team to win a medal for the island by beating the United States team 45-40.[citation needed]

Bernier was delegate and standard bearer for the Puerto Rican Olympic Committee in the 2004 Summer Olympics celebrated in Athens, Greece. That same year, Bernier was inducted into the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

On September 2008, Bernier resigned to his position as Secretary of Sports and Recreation to run for President of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee.[3] The election for president of the Olympic Committee took place on October 1, 2008. Bernier won the seat receiving 26 votes from the Federation delegates versus 13 votes in favor of incumbent Héctor Cardona.[4]

As president of the Olympic Committee, Bernier dealt with the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayagüez, the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[5]

Public service career[edit]

In 2003, Governor Sila Calderón appointed Bernier as Executive Director of the Office of Youth Affairs. On September 26, 2003, the Senate of Puerto Rico confirmed Bernier for the position.

On January 4, 2005, he resigned his post at the Office of Youth Affairs after being named Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Sports and Recreation by Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate of Puerto Rico, then presided by Kenneth McClintock, who would subsequently precede him as Secretary of State. In 2006, after the Senate failed to confirm two nominees to replace him at the Office of Youth Affairs, the Governor nominated him once again to that job, which he held simultaneously with the position of Secretary of Sports and Recreation, once he was again confirmed by the Senate.

On January 31, 2008, Bernier became president of the committee that was organizing the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. Following his designation he announced that he would discuss with the mayors of adjacent municipalities to help in the process.[6]

Secretary of State[edit]

On November 15, 2012, Governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla appointed Bernier to succeed Kenneth McClintock as Puerto Rico's 23rd Secretary of State, which also entails the role of lieutenant governor.[5] At the moment, Bernier was preparing to be reelected as President of the Olympic Committee when he was approached by García Padilla for the position.[7] He was sworn into his recess appointment by Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Federico Hernández Denton and he has since been unanimously confirmed by the Senate of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. Holding the title of Secretary of State entails serving in the dual role of Lieutenant Governor. As such, he has served as Acting Governor whenever Governor García Padilla has been out of Puerto Rico. At least once during his term, the acting governorship has been delegated to Attorney General Luis Sánchez Betances when both the Governor and Bernier have been absent, and when General Sánchez Betances has also been away, Secretary of the Treasury Melba Acosta has served as Acting Governor.

He is a member of the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Lieutenant Governors Association, two organizations that held conventions in Puerto Rico during his predecessor Kenneth McClintock's incumbency.

Head of state hosted as Secretary of State[edit]

As Secretary of State, Bernier has hosted the following head of state:

Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic-January 2013

Travels as Secretary of State[edit]

Representing Puerto Rico being one of the post's main responsibilities, Secretary Bernier has traveled to the following Latin American foreign countries while in office:

•Brazil

•Colombia

•Costa Rica

•Dominican Republic

•Panama

•Perú

See also[edit]


Personal life[edit]

Bernier married actress and host Alexandra Fuentes in 2007. They have two children together: a son, Adrián David,[8] and a daughter, Miranda.[9] Bernier has stated that reading the work of Gabriel García Márquez influenced his personal ideology by helping him understand the "Puerto Rican reality with the Latin American context".[10] Under his leadership, the Department of State held an homage to the author on April 23, 2014.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Bernier and the second or maternal family name is Rivera.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Biografía, Secretario de Estado, Hon. David E. Bernier Rivera (in Spanish), Department of State of Puerto Rico, retrieved August 3, 2013 
  2. ^ a b "David Bernier: del deporte a la política". El Nuevo Día. November 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ Cortés, Ricardo (September 10, 2008). "Acevedo Vilá reconoce la labor de Bernier". El Nuevo Día. 
  4. ^ Carlos González (2008-10-01). "Bernier barrió en la elección a presidente del Copur" (in Spanish). Primera Hora. Retrieved 2008-10-01. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Bernier será el nuevo Secretario de Estado". El Nuevo Día. November 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ Alex Figueroa Cancel (2008-02-01). "Bernier dio el sí". Primera Hora. Retrieved 2008-02-01. [dead link]
  7. ^ Del Valle, Sara (November 15, 2012). "El COPUR podría tener la primera mujer presidenta de su historia". El Nuevo Día. 
  8. ^ Héctor Aponte Alequín (February 16, 2007). "Primera Hora: Salsa Estudiantil con Fin Educador". 
  9. ^ "Nace la hija de Alexandra Fuentes y David Bernier". Primera Hora. December 27, 2010. 
  10. ^ [1]